Travel medicine update

Infections in returned travellers

Rob Baird, Jonathan Cohen



Travellers should be encouraged to have a post travel health check if they have been unwell or in high risk situations, and any returned traveller with a fever should be assessed and managed urgently.

Article Extract

Fatal infections in Australian travellers are rare. Of the 421 recorded deaths of Australian travellers overseas in the year 1992/1993, only 10 were attributed directly to infections, well behind deaths from trauma and pre-existing medical conditions.

Nonfatal infections, however, are frequent – for example, diarrhoea occurs in up to 50% of travellers. One Australian study demonstrated a significant number of diseases in returned travellers, such as malaria, respiratory tract infection, gastroenteritis, dengue fever, typhoid and hepatitis A. Infections can often be prevented or ameliorated by prophylaxis, vaccination or prompt medical intervention, therefore they are worthy of review.