Document Type: Original Article
Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Hamad General Hospital, Doha, Qatar
Communicable Disease Center (CDC), Doha, Qatar
Introduction: The number of international travelers is increasing, yet currently, there is no data on risk assessment and travelers’ characteristics from Qatar. To identify and minimize the risks associated with travel, a detailed knowledge of travelers’ characteristics is needed.
Methods: This retrospective descriptive study was conducted in a travel clinic in the Communicable Disease Center, Qatar. All patients seen in the clinic from February 2017 to August 2017 were included. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 22 software.
Results: A total of 279 travelers were included in this study. The top 2 most visited countries were Tanzania and Kenya. Tourism (57.3%) was the number one purpose for travel, while travelers visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) accounted for 10.7% of travel. Among the study population, 21% of participants had pre-existing medical conditions with hypertension and diabetes as the most common comorbidities. Mean travel duration was 46.5 days (range = 3 to 90 days). Vaccinations were required by 97% of the study population with the most commonly prescribed vaccines being the typhoid (69%), Tdap (62%), hepatitis A (55%), flu (49.3%), and yellow fever (39%) vaccines.
Conclusion: Travelers from Qatar tend to visit high-risk destinations; the lack of proper travel medicine services and awareness among travelers may increase the risk of illness, especially in Qatar where a large number of expatriates reside and travel frequently to and from their home countries (VFRs).