General Physicians Do Not Take Adequate Travel Histories


Mike Beadsworth, FRCP, MD, DTMH, Tropical and Infectious Disease Unit, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Liverpool L7 8XP, UK. E-mail:


Background. Our aim was to document how often travel histories were taken and the quality of their content.

Methods. Patients admitted over 2 months to acute medical units of two hospitals in the Northwest of England with a history of fever, rash, diarrhea, vomiting, jaundice, or presenting as “unwell post-travel” were identified. The initial medical clerking was assessed.

Results. A total of 132 relevant admissions were identified. A travel history was documented in only 26 patients (19.7%). Of the 16 patients who had traveled, there was no documentation of pretravel advice or of sexual/other activities abroad in 15 (93.8%) and 12 (75.0%) patients, respectively.

Conclusions. There needs to be better awareness and education about travel-related illness and the importance of taking an adequate travel history.