An Analysis of the Preventive Behavior and Attitudes of International Travelers from South East Asia; the Kuala Lumpur Airport Survey


1 School of Medicine, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland

2 International Medical University, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

3 Tropical Medical Bureau, Dublin, Ireland


Introduction: There has been significant growth in international tourism from South-East Asia. Travel medicine services are still quite limited in this region. Few data exists on the knowledge, attitudes and practices of travelers from South-East Asia regarding the prevention of travel-related health risks. The present study aimed to characterize the travel trends and risk reduction strategies of international travelers departing from a major Malaysian airport.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional survey among international travelers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. A questionnaire recorded data on the demographic profile, travel patterns, travel health protective measures, sources of pre-travel health advice, personal perception of travel-related risk, and barriers to seeking health advice, travel vaccinations and malaria chemoprophylaxis.
Results: 36.8% of respondents had sought pre-travel health advice, mostly (64.7%) from their doctor. 23.6% of the travelers had received travel vaccinations. 40% of travelers were uninsured and over 50% did not know how to access medical care overseas. The survey revealed deficiencies in the risk perception of travelers regarding endemic infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue, and rabies. A minority of the travelers reported an intention to avoid unsafe food and water, inform themselves of local disease outbreaks, pack a first-aid kit, and protect themselves from animal and mosquito bites.
Conclusions: This study highlights areas of concern in relation to the knowledge and behavior of the travelers surveyed and points to the need for raising public awareness in South-East Asia of the risks associated with international travel and the most efficient means of mitigating those risks. 


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