AbstractsMedical & Health Science

Health problems of Finnish travellers : Focus on infections

by Heli Siikamäki

Institution: University of Helsinki
Department: Institute of Clinical Medicine
Year: 2015
Keywords: lääketiede
Record ID: 1139962
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/154666


Study I analyzed Finnish travellers health problems abroad during 2010 2012. Information was drawn from a database kept by an assistance organization of insurance companies covering 95% of Finnish cases requiring aid abroad. The study included 50 710 cases. These data were compared to numbers of Finnish travellers from the Official Statistics of Finland to calculate incidences of illness and injury at various destinations. The most common diagnostic categories proved to be infections (60%) and injuries (14%); the most frequent diagnoses were acute gastroenteritis (23%) and respiratory infections (21%). Incidence was high in Africa, southern Europe plus the eastern Mediterranean, and Asia. Pre-travel counselling appears advisable also for visitors to southern Europe. Means for preventing gastrointestinal and respiratory infections are needed. Study II explored the final diagnoses of returning travellers with fever. This retrospective investigation comprised 462 febrile adults returning from malaria-endemic areas admitted to the Helsinki University Central Hospital emergency room during 2005 2009. The most common diagnostic categories were acute diarrhoeal disease (27%), systemic febrile illness (15%), and respiratory illness (15%). One traveller in four had a potentially life-threatening illness; septicemia proved as common as malaria (5% vs. 4%); one in ten had more than one diagnosis. The results suggest that the diagnostic protocol in tertiary hospital should in addition to malaria smears comprise blood cultures, influenza rapid test, and HIV test. Study III analyzed surveillance data on malaria cases reported to the National Infectious Disease Register 1995 2008 totalling 484 cases, and related them to travel statistics and antimalarial drug sales. The number of visits to malaria-endemic areas increased, whereas malaria cases did not, and a decreasing trend appeared in antimalarial drug sales. Infections were mostly acquired in Africa (76%). The most common species was Plasmodium falciparum (61%). Of all cases, 42% proved of foreign origin; in 89%, the infection was contracted in the region of birth, implying that immigrants visiting friends and relatives constitute a risk group with a particular need for pre-travel advice. Study IV analyzed in detail the background information on malaria cases diagnosed in Finland 2003 2011. The data included 265 cases, 54% of whom were born in malaria-endemic countries, and 86% currently lived in non-endemic regions. Of those born in non-endemic regions, 81% had received pre-travel advice, but only 20% of those born in endemic ones. Among travellers infected with P. falciparum, 4% reported regular use of appropriate chemoprophylaxis, yet individual rechecking by interview revealed that none had been fully compliant. These data suggest that, if taken conscientiously, mefloquine, atovaquone/proguanil, and doxycycline are effective as chemoprophylaxis against P. falciparum malaria. Väitöstutkimuksessa selvitettiin suomalaisten matkailijoiden terveysongelmia,…