Vol 75, No 1 (2024)
Original article
Published online: 2024-03-29

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Characteristics of Polish travellers admitted at the University Centre of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Poland, 2023

Krzysztof Korzeniewski12
DOI: 10.5603/imh.99413
Pubmed: 38647060
IMH 2024;75(1):55-60.

Abstract

Background: After COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, people started to travel again. Each year, thousands of Poles travel internationally, and many travel to tropical or subtropical destinations in Asia, Africa or South America. The aim of this article was to describe the characteristics of Polish travellers based on the information from a retrospective 12-month review of the medical records of Polish patients seeking pre-travel advice at the largest diagnostic and treatment travel medicine centre in Poland in 2023. Material and methods: The retrospective study was based on the analysis of medical records of 2,147 patients seeking pre-travel advice at the University Centre of Maritime and Tropical Medicine in Gdynia, Poland, between January and December 2023. The study focused on the analysis of the following patients’ variables: age, sex, travel details (purpose of travel, length of travel, departure month, continents and countries to be visited). It also aimed to evaluate the range of prevention measures which were either recommended or administered to patients seeking pre-travel advice at the clinic (preventive vaccinations, chemoprophylaxis). In addition, it assessed the health status of the patients presenting at the travel medicine clinic; retrospective health assessments were based on the information from the interviews with the patients. Results: Patients who sought pre-travel advice were mostly aged 36–65 years (49.5%), they were travelling for tourism purposes (78.3%), for a maximum period of 4 weeks (79.0%), mostly in November (15.2%) or in January (14.9%). Most travellers planned to visit Asia (55.5%) or Africa (29.0%); mainly Thailand (21.5%), Vietnam (8.5%), Kenya (8.3%) or India (8.2%). The most frequently administered immunoprophylaxis included vaccinations against typhoid fever and hepatitis A. Other commonly recommended/prescribed prevention measures included: insect repellents (69.3%), sunscreen (58.3%), antimalarials (35.8%), antithrombotic drugs (32.6%), and antidiarrheal drugs (25.6%). The analysis of patient interviews demonstrated that 61.8% of the travellers consulted at the clinic had no pre-existing medical conditions, while 38.2% required the use of chronic medications, mainly for allergies (14.3%), thyroid disorders (13.6%), cardiovascular diseases (9.3%), or psychiatric disorders (5.5%). Conclusions: A large number of Polish travellers visit destinations where the risk of infectious and non-infectious diseases is high. Providing patients with professional advice during a pre-travel consultation will help protect against travel-associated health problems.

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