Dia A, Gautret P, Adheossi E, Bienaimé A, Gaillard C, Simon F, Parola P, Brouqui P.
J Travel Med 2010; 17 : 296–302
Description: The authors investigated travel-associated illnesses in French travellers to Senegal by comparing results of a prospective cohort follow-up study (conducted in 358 travellers recruited at a pre-travel visit in Marseille) with data from ill returning travellers (collected from the GeoSentinel data platform in two clinics in Marseille). In the cohort survey, 87% of travellers experienced health complaints during travel, which most frequently included arthropod bites, diarrhoea, and sunburns. Severe febrile illness cases, notably malaria and salmonella, were detected only through the surveillance system, not in the cohort follow-up. Arthropod bites were more frequent in younger patients and in patients with pale phototypes. Sunburns were also more frequent in younger patients.
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PublicHealth significance: Evaluating health complaints in returning travellers through a sentinel surveillance system does not always reflect the spectrum of health problems that occur during travel. In this paper, the comparison of cohort surveys and sentinel surveillance data is used to better describe the epidemiology of health complaints during and after travel. Although travellers’ diarrhoea was the leading cause of consultation after return in the sentinel surveillance data, the cohort survey showed that skin diseases (arthropod bites and sunburns) were the leading cause of health impairment during travel.