Vol 71, No 2 (2020)
Review article
Published online: 2020-06-27

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Post-travel screening of symptomatic and asymptomatic travelers

Krzysztof Korzeniewski12
Pubmed: 32604457
IMH 2020;71(2):129-139.


Until last year, terrorism, economic instability, poverty and natural disasters were considered the major threats to humans globally. Infectious diseases were seen as a minor problem. This, however, changed in 2020 when the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out and a new danger emerged. The latest events generated a lot of discussion on health hazards associated with international tourism and uncontrolled spread of pathogens across the borders. The major health problems of travelers to developing countries with harsh environmental conditions and endemic infectious diseases include gastrointestinal disorders, dermatoses, respiratory infections and fevers of unknown origin. A medical interview by an experienced physician is the foundation of the post-travel screening process both in symptomatic and asymptomatic travelers; the interview should focus on identifying exposure to risk factors (endemic infectious diseases, failure to adopt disease prevention measures, consumption of food or water from unsafe sources, insect bites, animal bites, travelling in large groups, unsafe sex with casual partners). While physical examination (identification of abnormalities) and diagnostic tests (identification of pathogens) can be useful for detecting illnesses and asymptomatic infections as well as assessing the general health condition of a patient, including his immune system. The aim of the article is to provide information on the post-travel screening process in symptomatic and asymptomatic travelers who have returned from areas with harsh climate conditions and low sanitation standards.

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