Vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers travelling from Greece: a prospective, questionnaire-based analysis

Androula Pavli, Paraskevi Smeti, Athina Spilioti, Chrysovalantis Silvestros, Panagiotis Katerelos, Helena C Maltezou
Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 2014, 12 (6 Pt B): 764-70
The purpose of this prospective, questionnaire-based study is to assess pre-travel vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers who receive pre-travel advice in Greece. A total of 4721 travellers were studied from January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2012. Travellers sought pre-travel advice at a mean of 19.7 days (range: 0-349 days) before departure. Long-term travellers (≥ 1 month) accounted for 2205 (46.7%) of all travellers. Long-term travellers had a mean age of 34.5 years. The majority of them were men (79.8%). In terms of destinations, 84% were visiting malaria-endemic countries and sub-Saharan Africa was the most common destination (17.7%). Most long-term travellers pursued trips for work purposes (70%), visited urban areas (79.6%) and stayed in hotels (29.2%). Yellow fever, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and tetanus/diphtheria vaccines were administered to 1647 (74.7%), 741 (33.6%), 652 (29.5%), and 589 (26.7%) travellers, respectively. Yellow fever vaccine was administered to 339 (87%) and 132 (71%) of long-term travellers to sub-Saharan Africa and South America respectively, whereas typhoid vaccine to 119 (90.8%) and 330 (84.6%) of those travelling to the Indian subcontinent and sub-Saharan Africa respectively. Rabies vaccine was administered to 14 (0.6%) of them. Malaria prophylaxis was recommended to 446 (20%) of long-term travellers. Mefloquine was the most commonly (49%) prescribed agent, and was prescribed to 26.7% of long-term travellers to sub-Sahara Africa. In conclusion, this study revealed that recommendations for vaccine and malaria prophylaxis for long-term travellers to developing countries should be more selective, based on the assessment of all travellers' and travel characteristics, in order to provide adequate pre-travel preparation for this high risk group of travellers. More focused studies are suggested in order to understand the particular needs of long-term travellers. Increasing awareness of travellers and travel health consultants is very important.

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