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Swiss Med Wkly. 2015 May 29;145:w14136. doi: 10.4414/smw.2015.14136. eCollection 2015.

Travelling activity and travel-related risks after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation - a single centre survey.

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Division of Infectious Diseases and Hospital Epidemiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, Basel, Switzerland.
Division of Haematology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland.
Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital Basel, Switzerland; Infection Biology, Department Biomedicine, University Basel, Switzerland.



Travel activity and travel-related risks of patients after allogeneic haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (allo-HSCT) remain largely unknown. The aim of our study was to examine travel activity after allo-HSCT including travel behaviour and travel patterns.


We analysed travel characteristics of allo-HSCT recipients by using a retrospective cross-sectional survey. Allo-HSCT patients were asked to complete a questionnaire during their annual health visits from 2010 to 2012.


Overall, 118/153 (77%) participating patients reported travel activity for a total of 201 travelling episodes. Travellers versus non-travellers were receiving immunosuppressive treatment in 35.6% versus 65.7% (p=0.002), and had graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD) in 52.5% versus 62.9% (p=0.17). In a multivariate analysis, the time between the transplantation and the survey was the only factor associated with travel activity (p<0.0001) and taking pretravel advice (p<0.0001). In 34.8% of travel episodes pretravel advice was sought. Patients with pretravel advice reported travel-related symptoms more frequently. Minor respiratory (27/201) and gastrointestinal (23/201) symptoms were most frequently indicated. Four percent (8/201) of the patients were hospitalised while travelling.


We conclude that travelling after allo-HSCT is frequent and linked to the time since transplantation. We could not define specific risks for any destination. Nevertheless, pretravel advice and preparation are highly recommended for immunosuppressed patients.

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