Recognition of Imported Tropical Infectious Disease in Returned Travelers in a University Hospital Emergency Department
With the marked increase in international travel, and the growth of the migrant
population living in Western European countries, multidisciplinary healthcare
workers practicing in Ireland are increasingly likely to encounter tropical illness in the returned traveler.
Although most post-travel-related health problems in travelers to developing
countries are mild, up to 8% of travelers seek care from a physician when they return
to their home country.
Common diagnoses revealed by the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network Database in Europe include
enteric fever, acute viral hepatitis, and influenza.
Life-threatening infectious diseases, such as Plasmodium falciparum malaria,
melioidosis, and African trypanosomiasis, were reported in a study of GeoSentinel records
of 53 tropical or travel disease units in 24 countries.
Lack of awareness of the possibility of tropical infectious disease in the differential
diagnosis of an ill returned traveler could precipitate potentially
complicated or fatal diagnostic delay.
Healthcare workers practicing in Ireland may encounter tropical
illness in the returned traveler.
This study aimed to establish the awareness of tropical diseases in front-line
healthcare professionals working in an Irish hospital
A questionnaire was administered to doctors and nurses working
in an Irish university teaching hospital.
Tropical illness was infrequently considered in patients presenting
with a variety of common symptoms. There was a poor level of familiarity
of several tropical infectious diseases.
There was a tendency for doctors to underestimate the prevalence of dengue
infection. A substantial proportion of doctors were not confident in their
ability to manage a patient with malaria.
The educational activities preferred by the majority of respondents
were tropical disease manuals, workshops and wall charts.
Emerg Med Open J. 2015; 1(2): 39-45. doi: 10.17140/EMOJ-1-109