Adolescents Traveling to High-Risk Destinations: Review and Considerations for Clinicians

Document Type : Review Article


Department for Interventions in Health Care Facilities, Hellenic Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Athens, Greece



Introduction: International travels have increased dramatically in recent years. Adolescents constitute a fast-growing group of travelers. Travels provide an opportunity for exposure to high-risk behavior. The current study reviewed the published data about travel-related morbidity among adolescents traveling to international destinations.
Methods: PubMed was searched for articles published from 2000-2017. The websites of public health organizations were also searched.
Results: In total, 21 articles presenting original data about adolescent international travelers were identified. The data indicated that adolescents frequently develop ailments during travel, including those attributable to age-related high-risk behavior. In addition, adolescents often manifest a travel-associated morbidity that differs in terms of proportion (e.g., higher rates of systemic febrile illness) from the travel-associated morbidity encountered in younger children and adults. Pre-travel counseling is sought by less than half of adolescents traveling to high-risk destinations. Gaps were found in travel vaccinations and antimalarial prophylaxis in adolescents traveling to endemic areas. Information about vaccinations, antimalarial prophylaxis, and pre-travel counseling for adolescent travelers should be improved.
Conclusion: There is a need to improve pre-travel services for adolescents planning to travel to high-risk international destinations. Communication strategies to access adolescent travelers and their parents should be investigated.


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