Emerging Infectious Diseases (2014-04-01)

Regional Variation in Travel-related Illness acquired in Africa, March 1997–May 2011

  • Marc Mendelson,
  • Pauline V. Han,
  • Peter Vincent,
  • Frank von Sonnenburg,
  • Jakob P. Cramer,
  • Louis Loutan,
  • Kevin C. Kain,
  • Philippe Parola,
  • Stefan Hagmann,
  • Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas,
  • Mark Sotir,
  • Patricia Schlagenhauf

DOI
https://doi.org/10.3201/eid2004.131128
Journal volume & issue
Vol. 20, no. 4
pp. 532 – 541

Abstract

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To understand geographic variation in travel-related illness acquired in distinct African regions, we used the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network database to analyze records for 16,893 ill travelers returning from Africa over a 14-year period. Travelers to northern Africa most commonly reported gastrointestinal illnesses and dog bites. Febrile illnesses were more common in travelers returning from sub-Saharan countries. Eleven travelers died, 9 of malaria; these deaths occurred mainly among male business travelers to sub-Saharan Africa. The profile of illness varied substantially by region: malaria predominated in travelers returning from Central and Western Africa; schistosomiasis, strongyloidiasis, and dengue from Eastern and Western Africa; and loaisis from Central Africa. There were few reports of vaccine-preventable infections, HIV infection, and tuberculosis. Geographic profiling of illness acquired during travel to Africa guides targeted pretravel advice, expedites diagnosis in ill returning travelers, and may influence destination choices in tourism.

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