Background. Previous studies investigating the travelers' knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) profile indicated an important educational need among those traveling to risk destinations. Initiatives to improve such education should target all groups of travelers, including business travelers, those visiting friends and relatives (VFR), and older adult travelers.
Methods. In the years 2002 to 2009, a longitudinal questionnaire-based survey was conducted at the Dutch Schiphol Airport with the aim to study trends in KAP of travel risk groups toward prevention of hepatitis A. The risk groups last-minute travelers, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers VFR, and older adult travelers were specifically studied.
Results. A total of 3,045 respondents were included in the survey. Travelers to destinations with a high risk for hepatitis A had significantly less accurate risk perceptions (knowledge) than travelers to low-to-intermediate-risk destinations. The relative risk for hepatitis A in travelers to high-risk destinations was probably mitigated by less intended risk-seeking behavior and by higher protection rates against hepatitis A as compared with travelers to low-to-intermediate-risk destinations. Logistic regression analyses showed that an age >60 years was the only significant determinant for improvement of their knowledge. Trend analyses showed a significant change over time in attitude toward more risk-avoiding behavior and toward higher protection rates against hepatitis A in travelers to high-risk destinations. The KAP profile of the risk groups travelers VFR (irrespective of hepatitis A risk of their destination) and solo as well as last-minute travelers to high-risk destinations substantially increased their relative risk for hepatitis A.
Conclusions. The results of this longitudinal survey in Dutch travelers suggest an annual 5% increase in protection rates against hepatitis A coinciding with an annual 1% decrease in intended risk-seeking behavior. This improvement may reflect the continuous efforts of travel health advice providers to create awareness and to propagate safe and healthy travel. The KAP profile of travelers visiting friends and relatives (VFR) and solo as well as last-minute travelers to high-risk destinations substantially increased their relative risk for hepatitis A. These risk groups should be candidates for targeted interventions.