International travel in the immunocompromised patient: a cross-sectional survey of travel advice in 254 consecutive patients

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Abstract

Our primary aim was to determine the rate of overseas travel in immunocompromised individuals attending appropriate clinics at an Australian tertiary care hospital. We also aimed to characterise health-seeking behaviour prior to travel and investigated sources of pre-travel advice, compared travel patterns and activities between three specific immunosuppressed groups, and examined pre-immunosuppression patient serology. METHODS: We implemented a cross-sectional survey of patients between February and August 2012. This survey was implemented among three outpatient populations at Monash Medical Centre, an Australian tertiary care hospital. RESULTS: We recruited 254 immunosuppressed adults from three patient populations: human immunodeficiency virus-positive individuals, renal transplant patients and rheumatology patients requiring immunosuppressive therapy. No clinical intervention was performed. In the 10 years preceding the survey, 153 (60.2 ) participants reported international travel. Of these, 105 (68.6 ) were immunosuppressed at the time of travel. These patients were 47.6 male and 60 Australian born. Forty per cent were visiting friends and relatives as part of their travel. Fifty-four per cent of those immunocompromised at the time of travel were going to high-risk destinations. Pathology files indicated that serological screening was frequently not performed prior to immunosuppression in the renal transplant and rheumatology groups. CONCLUSIONS: Immunocompromised patients often travel to high-risk destinations with limited or inadequate pre-travel preparations. Doctors caring for the immunocompromised should be aware of travel risks, suitable vaccination protocols and when to refer to specialist travel clinics.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618 - 623
Number of pages6
JournalInternal Medicine Journal
Volume45
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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