Health advice given by general practitioners for travellers from Australia

Seelan, S. Thava, and Leggat, Peter A. (2003) Health advice given by general practitioners for travellers from Australia. Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease, 1 (1). pp. 47-52.

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Abstract

Objectives: To investigate the prevalence of travel health advice and written documentation reported to be given by general practitioners to travellers from Australia.

Design and setting: A postal questionnaire was sent to general practitioners (GPs).

Participants: 433 GPs were randomly selected from the register of the Medical Directory of Australia from the areas of western Sydney and Townville.

Results: Two hundred and thirteen questionnaires (49.2%) were returned. Approximately two-thirds of the sample was male (133/207,64.3%) and one-third female (74/207,35.7%). The mean age of the GPs was 46.7 (SD±12.1) years. The GPs reportedly saw an average of 3.9 (SD±11.8) travellers per week. Most GPs (160/202,79.2%) reported that they spent between 5–25 min for pre-travel consultations. GPs generally reported giving advice to travellers on travel vaccines, malaria prophylaxis, personal protective measures against insect bites, geographic diseases, clothing, and sexually transmitted infections. The majority of GPs did not routinely give information on travel insurance, unsafe sex, barotrauma, in-flight exercise, jet lag or first aid knowledge. Most GPs reported not routinely giving written documentation in the form of written travel health advice, a doctor's letter or a travellers' vaccination record.

Conclusions: GPs report seeking core information needed for formulating travel health advice. GPs also provided travellers with health advice on most of the areas, which need to be covered in the pre-travel consultation. More GPs may wish to consider advising travellers about the importance of travel insurance and managing common maladies of travellers, such as motion sickness, barotrauma, and jet lag. With limited time in general practice to advise travellers, more GPs should consider providing written advice and documentation for travel, including a travellers' vaccination record.

Item ID: 7216
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1873-0442
Keywords: Australia; disease; general practitioners; travel health advice
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2010 04:23
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 100%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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