453. Understanding Travel Medicine Provider's Risk Assessment of Travel-associated Diseases
Session: Poster Abstract Session: Global Health and Travel Medicine
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Room: S Poster Hall
  • IDWeek2018_FINAL_9-25-18.pdf (767.6 kB)
  • Background:

    Pre-travel medical consultations attempt to reduce travel-associated risks by behavioral modification, vaccination and medications. Provider understanding of quantitative risk of commonly discussed travel topics is poorly characterized. We investigated travel medicine provider understanding of quantitative risk of common travel-associated diseases, and explored how providers relay risk estimates to travelers.


    After institutional review board (IRB) approval, an online anonymous survey was sent to the International Society for Travel Medicine Listserv. Travel medicine experience, practice patterns and demographics were recorded. Respondents estimated quantitative risk of various destination-specific diseases. Descriptive statistics were completed.


    Of 114 respondents, most were experienced travel medicine providers (79% saw > 6 travel visits monthly). Overall risk estimates are in Table 1. Compared with published literature, providers gave accurate risk estimates for some diseases (yellow fever, traveler’s diarrhea), but overestimated quantitative risk for others (Japanese encephalitis, hepatitis A, cholera). Interquartile range was greatest for Japanese encephalitis and cholera, reflecting a wider range of risk estimates. Most (81%) providers used general risk descriptions (high, low, none) and a minority (14%) discussed quantitative risk with travelers.


    Experienced travel medicine providers overestimated risk of several vaccine preventable illnesses, though risk estimates for others were close to published estimates. Most providers do not use quantitative risk in pre-travel consultations. Improved quantitative risk understanding may improve the quality of pre-travel consultations.

    Table 1. Provider’s risk estimates for selected travel-associated illnesses


    Interquartile Range

    Traveler’s diarrhea (India)


    1:2 – 1:5

    Malaria (W. Africa)


    1:5 – 1:85

    Hepatitis A (Kenya)


    1:25 – 1:1,000

    Influenza (Indonesia)


    1:20 – 1:500

    Cholera (Uganda)


    1:500 – 1:100,000

    Japanese encephalitis (Vietnam)


    1:500 – 1:200,000

    Tick borne encephalitis (Austria)


    1:100 – 1:10,000

    Yellow fever (W. Africa)


    1:100 – 1:10,000

    Yellow fever (Brazil)


    1:200 – 1:25,000

    Robert Ulrich, MD, Infectious Diseases, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY and Scott Weisenberg, MD, New York University, New York, NY


    R. Ulrich, None

    S. Weisenberg, None

    Findings in the abstracts are embargoed until 12:01 a.m. PDT, Wednesday Oct. 3rd with the exception of research findings presented at the IDWeek press conferences.