TitleTravel-related Health Problems of Hong Kong Residents: Assessing the Need for Travel Medicine Services
AuthorsAbdullah A. S., Hamer D. H.
PublicationTravel Med Infect Dis. 2006 Nov; 4(6):324-31.
AbstractBACKGROUND: Although there has been a marked increase in travel among Hong Kong residents, travel-related health risks have not been well characterized nor has their use of travel medicine services. OBJECTIVES: To assess the travel health care needs of Chinese residents in Hong Kong by examining travel health problems of returning Hong Kong residents and by understanding their use of travel health services before or after travel. METHODS: Review of available data followed by a cross-sectional telephone survey of 280 travellers and 15 service providers. A structured pre-tested questionnaire was used for data collection. Household members, who were ethnic Chinese, aged 15-64 years, able to communicate in Cantonese, and who had travelled at least once during the preceding 12 months were invited to participate. RESULTS: There was a scarcity of travel medicine services in Hong Kong. The most common destinations for travellers were countries in the Asia-Pacific region, especially mainland China (33%). Twenty percent of the respondents developed health problems during or shortly after travel. Although only 9% of respondents had received pre-travel health advice, 61% used some form of precautions. Twelve percent had lost at least a day due to travel-related health problems. The service providers agreed that there are demands for travel health services. However, half of the service providers had not been trained in travel or tropical medicine. CONCLUSIONS: This study indicates the need for specialized travel medicine services in Hong Kong to improve the health of travellers.