Document Type : Original Article
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCSI), Dublin, Ireland
Centre for Global Child Health, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Division of Infectious Diseases, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Canada
Department of Pediatrics, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
Introduction: Children are frequent international travelers and may acquire serious infectious diseases during travel. We undertook a retrospective 10-year review examining children admitted to hospital with infectious diseases associated with international travel at a Canadian tertiary care pediatric hospital.
Methods: Retrospective chart review was performed on select travel-related infectious diseases in children ranging in age from birth to <18 years who were admitted at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto between January 1st, 2009 and December 31st, 2018. Cases were identified using ICD-10 discharge codes. Patient demographics, travel history, epidemiological data, disease, and prophylaxis history were documented.
Results: A total of 154 children were hospitalized with a travel-related infection over a 10-year period. The most common diagnoses were typhoid or paratyphoid fever (n = 58, 38%), malaria (n = 57, 37%), and hepatitis A (n = 14, 8%). The median age of those infected was 8 years (IQR 3-12). There were 120 (78%) children who were Canadian born, 31 (20%) immigrants and 3 (2%) who were visiting Canada. Of those who lived in Canada, 112 (90%) travelled for the purpose of visiting friends and relatives (VFR), 6 (5%) for tourism and 2 (2%) for humanitarian work. India was typically known for the acquisition of infection for typhoid or paratyphoid fever, and Nigeria for malaria. Hepatitis A was most commonly acquired in Pakistan.
Conclusion: Imported infectious diseases continue to be a significant issue in travelers returning from trips suggesting improved preventative pre-travel care. VFR children are a group that should, in particular, be targeted for appropriate pre-travel advice and care.