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Travel Illness in British Package Holiday Tourists: Prospective Cohort Study

Author(s)M. R. Evans; D. Shickle and M. Z. Morgan
AbstractObjectives: To examine the relationship between knowledge of travel health matters, health preparation for travel and risk of travel related illness.

Methods: Travellers on holiday charter flights from Cardiff-Wales Airport provided information on holiday preparation before departure and were surveyed 2 weeks after return for details of holiday lifestyle and travel illness.

Results: Travellers' diarrhoea was reported by 25.7% of 1469 travellers; 24.4% had sunburn and 7.6% had respiratory infection. Attack rates for travellers' diarrhoea were highest in people aged 15–34 years (34.1%). Rates were higher the shorter the interval between holiday booking and departure (χ2for linear trend 13.5, 1df, P <0.001) and lower in travellers who sought advice from their general practitioner before departure (adjusted odds ratio 0.6, 95% confidence interval 0.4–0.9). The most important predictors for travellers' diarrhoea were travel with friends, country of destination, stay in room only or bed and breakfast accommodation, and type of meals most frequently eaten.

Conclusions: Better holiday preparation seems to reduce risk of travel illness, even after adjusting for variables that may reflect the more cautious personality of the traveller. Encouragement to book early, take medical advice and travel well prepared could have a positive health benefit, but intervention studies are required.
Date of publishing08/01/2001
Date of last review by us02/18/2004
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