Health Risks for Short-Term Travelers

  • R. Steffen


Epidemiologic data show that relatively minor ailments affect more than half of the travelers during a brief stay in the tropics. Diarrhea and upper respiratory tract infections are the most frequent problems. In contrast, infectious hepatitis affects only 1 in 500, typhoid fever 1 in 30000, cholera 1 in 500000 travelers to the tropics. The risk of malaria and of poliomyelitis is usually underestimated.

When tourists and foreign aid volunteers started to travel in greater number to developing countries, hardly any data were available about their health risks. Consequently, medical recommendations were vague and even more contradictory than nowadays. This prompted us among many others to conduct initially retrospective [1–4], later follow-up studies [5, 6]. Additionally, various case history studies were conducted, primarily to find the attack rates in illlnesses and accidents which rarely affect travelers.


Attack Rate Typhoid Fever Health Impairment Minor Ailment Paralytic Poliomyelitis 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

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  • R. Steffen

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