Quality of Travel Health Advice in a French Travel Medicine and Vaccine Center: A Prospective Observational Study


Marie-Anne Bouldouyre, MD, Department of Infectious Diseases, Hospital Saint-Louis, 1 av. Claude Vellefaux, F-75475 Paris Cedex 10, France. E-mail: marie-anne.bouldouyre@sls.aphp.fr


Background. The number of international trips undertaken by French citizens is rising and we wished to assess the appropriateness of advices given to travelers in a vaccine and travel medicine center in France.

Methods. We conducted a 3-month prospective study in one center in Paris where prescriptions and advice to travelers are given by trained physicians in travel medicine who have access to a computerized decision support system (Edisan). A questionnaire was used to record trip characteristics, patients' demographics, and prescriptions. Main outcome measure was the adequacy of prescriptions for malaria prophylaxis, yellow fever, and hepatitis A vaccines to French guidelines.

Results. A total of 730 subjects were enrolled in this study, with a median age of 28 years. Travel destinations were sub-Saharan Africa (58%), Asia (21%), and South America (18%). Among the 608 patients (83%) traveling to malaria-endemic areas, malaria prophylaxis was in accordance with guidelines in 578/608 patients (95.1%, 95% CI: 93–96.5), and doxycycline was the regimen of choice (48%). Inappropriate malaria prophylaxis was given to eight patients, one of whom developed plasmodium falciparum malaria. All 413 patients (100%, 95% CI: 99–100) traveling to yellow fever-endemic areas who needed vaccination were correctly vaccinated. However, three patients received yellow fever vaccination without indication. Also, 442 of 454 patients (97.4%, 95% CI: 95.4–98.5) eligible to receive hepatitis A vaccination were immunized.

Conclusion. Appropriate advice for malaria prophylaxis, yellow fever, and hepatitis A vaccinations was provided in a travel medicine and vaccine center where trained physicians used a computerized decision support system. Even in this setting, however, errors can occur and professional practices should be regularly assessed to improve health care.