Paediatrics Publications

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Background International travel can expose travelers to a number of health risks. Pretravel consultation (PC) helps mitigate risk and prepare travelers for health concerns that might arise. The assessment of risk, mitigation strategies, and relevance of pretravel advice is dependent on how closely travelers adhere to their planned travel itinerary and activities. We determined the proportion of returned travelers whose completed travel experiences differed from their stated travel itineraries, and identified discrepancies that significantly altered the traveler's health risk and would have required alternative counseling during their PC. Methods We conducted a prospective cohort study at the SickKids' Family Travel Clinic between October 2014 and November 2015. Returned travelers who completed a post-travel survey were included. Pretravel consultation assessments and post-trip surveys were compared to identify discrepant trip experiences. Results A total of 389 travelers presented to the clinic for a PC during the study period and 302 (77.6%) were enrolled. Post-travel surveys were received from 119 (39.4%) participants, representing 101 unique itineraries. The median participant age was 36.3 years (IQR 26.6- 47.5) and there were 73 female travelers (61%). Most participants (n = 87,73%) were healthy as well as Canadian born (n = 84, 71%). A quarter of travelers were visiting friends and relatives (VFR) (n = 30, 25.2%). The vast majority of returned travelers (n = 109, 92%) reported discrepant trip experiences involving trip duration, countries visited, accommodations, environmental surroundings and/or activities. Almost two thirds of these individuals (n = 68, 62%) would have required alternative pretravel counseling. We did not identify any demographic or planned trip characteristics that predicted discrepant trip experiences requiring alternative pretravel counseling. Conclusions The majority of travelers reported discrepant trip experiences and the discrepancies often affected health risk. Therefore, clinicians should consider providing broader counselling during the PC as discrepancies from planned travel are common.