Pre-travel Preparation for Cusco, Peru: A Comparison Between European and North American Travelers

Authors

  • Miguel M. Cabada MD,

    Corresponding author
    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
    2. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA
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  • Fernando Maldonado MD,

    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Karen Mozo MD,

    1. Facultad de Medicina Humana, Universidad Nacional de San Antonio Abad del Cusco, Cusco, Peru
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  • Natallia Dziuba MD,

    1. Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX, USA
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  • Eduardo Gotuzzo MD

    1. Instituto de Medicina Tropical Alexander von Humboldt, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Lima, Peru
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  • Part of the data included in this article was presented as a poster at the ninth Conference of the International Society of Travel Medicine, Lisbon, Portugal, May 1 to 5, 2005.

Miguel M. Cabada, MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical Branch, 6315 Central City Blvd Apt 116, Galveston, TX 77551, USA.
E-mail: micabada@utmb.edu

Abstract

Background. Demographics, preferences on health care, and regional differences in pre-travel advice guidelines may influence the preparation of travelers to developing countries.

Methods. A secondary data analysis of the database of a travelers' health survey conducted in Cusco in 2002 was performed. Data from those whose place of residence was North America or Western Europe were selected. Illness rates, vaccinations, prophylactic medication use, and general recommendations on disease prevention were compared between the two groups.

Results. Data from 1,612 North Americans (NAM) and 3,590 Western Europeans (EUR) were analyzed. NAM were older, stayed longer in Cusco, and had less experience traveling to developing countries (p < 0.01). They reported being ill more often than EUR (58% vs 42%, p < 0.01). Diarrhea was more frequent among EUR (55.6% vs 46.7%, p < 0.01), and acute mountain sickness (AMS) was more frequent among NAM (52.8% vs 35.2%, p < 0.01). EUR sought advice from health care professionals (67.1% vs 52.0%, p < 0.01) and travel medicine practitioners (45.8% vs 37%, p < 0.01) more often. NAM used prophylactic medications more often (53% vs 48.6%, p = 0.00) and received a lower mean number of vaccines (1.97 ± 1.68 vs 2.63 ± 1.49; t-test 14.02, p < 0.01). Advice on safe sex and alcohol consumption was low in both groups, especially among NAM.

Conclusions. Pre-travel preparation and travel-related illnesses varied between NAM and EUR. Improving consistency of pre-travel preparation based on the best evidence should become a priority among different national bodies providing travel medicine recommendations.

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