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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Mar;90(3):553-9. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.13-0479. Epub 2014 Jan 20.

Pre-travel preparation of US travelers going abroad to provide humanitarian service, Global TravEpiNet 2009-2011.

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Travelers' Health Branch, Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia; Department of Quantitative Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, Massachusetts; Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research (CHOIR), Bedford Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Bedford, Massachusetts; Division of Infectious Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.


We analyzed characteristics of humanitarian service workers (HSWs) seen pre-travel at Global TravEpiNet (GTEN) practices during 2009-2011. Of 23,264 travelers, 3,663 (16%) travelers were classified as HSWs. Among HSWs, 1,269 (35%) travelers were medical workers, 1,298 (35%) travelers were non-medical service workers, and 990 (27%) travelers were missionaries. Median age was 29 years, and 63% of travelers were female. Almost one-half (49%) traveled to 1 of 10 countries; the most frequent destinations were Haiti (14%), Honduras (8%), and Kenya (6%). Over 90% of travelers were vaccinated for or considered immune to hepatitis A, typhoid, and yellow fever. However, for hepatitis B, 292 (29%) of 990 missionaries, 228 (18%) of 1,298 non-medical service workers, and 76 (6%) of 1,269 medical workers were not vaccinated or considered immune. Of HSWs traveling to Haiti during 2010, 5% of travelers did not receive malaria chemoprophylaxis. Coordinated efforts from HSWs, HSW agencies, and clinicians could reduce vaccine coverage gaps and improve use of malaria chemoprophylaxis.

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