Document Type : Original Article
Travel Medicine Office, Department for Interventions in Health Care Facilities, Hellenic Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Athens, Greece
Regional Department of Public Health of Attica, Athens, Greece
Introduction: The number of travellers from Greece who travel to sub-Saharan Africa has increased during the last decade. Our aim in this research was to study vaccination patterns for travellers travelling to sub-Saharan Africa.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted from January 2011 until December 2014 in all (57) public health departments in Greece. Travellers over 18 years travelling to sub-Saharan Africa participated in this study. A standard form was used in order to collect data about travellers’ demographics, immunization history and travel information.
Results: During the study period, 1768 travellers (median age: 39.2 years) travelling to sub-Saharan Africa participated. Among them, 69.2% of them were male and 95.4% of them had a Greek nationality. Nigeria was their most common destination (15.7%). Among all the travellers, 56.7% stayed in urban areas, 57.9% travelled for less than one month, 58.5% for work, 29% for vacation, and 5.8% for visiting friends and relatives. Furthermore, 79.7%, 30.9%, 19.7%, 16.8%, and 14.1% received the yellow fever, typhoid fever, tetanus-diphtheria, hepatitis A, and meningococcal vaccines, respectively. The purpose of travelling was statistically significantly associated with gender, nationality, and the duration of travel. Tetanus, hepatitis A & B, poliomyelitis, rabies and meningococcal vaccines were more commonly recommended for recreational travel, whereas tetanus, hepatitis A, and poliomyelitis vaccines for short-term travellers and typhoid vaccine for long-term travellers.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that vaccination rrecommendations should be improved for the travellers to sub-Saharan Africa. Individualized and more selective pre-travel recommendations are needed taking in consideration the purpose and duration of travel, the area and place of stay.