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Mil Med. 1997 Mar;162(3):172-8.

Epidemiology, preventive services, and illnesses of international travelers.

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Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD 20814-4799, USA.


Medical preparation of travelers to overseas locations is an important part of military medical care. We reviewed pre-travel records of patients attending the travel clinic at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) and used a post-travel questionnaire to determine the most frequent medical problems associated with international travel. Among 1,416 individuals who received pre-travel care at NNMC, there were 760 (54%) males and 656 (46%) females, the median patient age was 48 years, the most common reason for travel was pleasure, and the median duration of travel was 21 days. The most common destinations were Asia (27%), Africa (15%), Europe (13%), Central America/Caribbean (12%), and South America (11%). The median number of immunizations prescribed was three. Malaria chemoprophylaxis was prescribed to 45%. The average cost of vaccines and medications to medically prepare a traveler was $67. Among 271 (82%) who returned the post-travel questionnaire, the most common illnesses reported were diarrhea (23%) and upper respiratory infections (19%); medical treatment was sought by 9%. Properly informed, military physicians can provide a valuable service at a reasonable cost to reduce the risk of travel-acquired medical problems and illnesses.

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