Document Type: Original Article
School of Medicine, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland
School of Medicine, International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Introduction: International travel is increasing, yet few studies have reported on country-level death rates among international travelers. The data regarding the death profiles of overseas Irish travelers is insufficient. The current study examined data obtained from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to profile these deaths.
Methods: Data on Irish civilian citizen deaths occurring abroad was obtained from the Consular Division of the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and analyzed based on age, gender, time of death, travel destination, and recorded cause of death.
Results: Between January 2016 and April 2018, the Consular Division received 654 reports of Irish civilians dying abroad, of which 72% (n=469) were males and 23% (n=149) were females; in 6% (n=36) the sex was not recorded. The mean age at death was 58±5 years old (range from 1 to 110, median 62 years). Recorded causes of death were illness (25%; n=162), traumatic deaths including homicides and suicides (24%; n=151), and natural (age-related) (3%; n=19); the rest were classified as unidentified cause (47%; n=309). The majority of deaths (63%; n=309) occurred in European destinations followed by Asia (16%; n=102) and the Americas (12%; n=75).
Conclusion: At least 25% of Irish deaths abroad can be considered preventable. More tailored pre-travel medical interventions may prevent further deaths. In the collection of data, consular services miss the opportunity to acquire valuable information for both travelers and healthcare professionals. The authors recommend the creation of a comprehensive database of international traveler deaths.