BackgroundTravel-related risks for infectious diseases vary depending on travel patterns such as purpose, destination, and duration. In this study, we describe the patterns of travel and prescription of vaccines as well as malaria prophylaxis medication (MPM) at a travel clinic in South Korea to identify the gaps to fill for the optimization of pre-travel consultation.
Materials and methodsA cohort of travel clinic visitors in 2011 was constructed and early one-third of the visitors of each month were reviewed. During the study period, 10,009 visited the travel clinic and a retrospective chart review was performed for 3,332 cases for analysis of travel patterns and prescriptions.
ResultsPeople receiving yellow fever vaccine (YFV) (n = 2,933) were traveling more frequently for business and tourism and less frequently for providing non-medical service or research/education compared to the 399 people who did not receive the YFV. Overall, most people were traveling to Eastern Africa, South America, and Western Africa, while South-Eastern Asia was the most common destination for the non-YFV group. Besides YFV, the typhoid vaccine was the most commonly prescribed (54.2%), while hepatitis A presented the highest coverage (74.7%) considering the natural immunity, prior and current vaccination history. Additionally, 402 (82.5%) individuals received a prescription for MPM among the 487 individuals travelling to areas with high-risk of malaria infection. Age over 55 was independently associated with receiving MPM prescription, while purpose of providing service and travel duration over 10 days were associated with no MPM prescription, despite travelling to high-risk areas.
ConclusionEastern Africa and South America were common travel destinations among the visitors to a travel clinic for YFV, and most of them were travelling for tourism and business. For the individuals who are traveling to areas with high-risk for malaria, more proactive approach might be required in case of younger age travelers, longer duration, and travel purpose of providing service to minimize the risk of malaria infection.