Closing the gap in travel medicine: reframing research questions for a new era

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Abstract

Background: Travel medicine needs are changing. New patterns of travel, including greater travel by individuals from emerging economies with different values in costs, risks and benefits, must be considered. This review aims to (1) highlight selected studies that have been published that address previously identified gaps in knowledge; (2) propose possible ways to consider questions regarding travel medicine practice for travelers from emerging economies, underscoring priorities for research focusing on these important populations; (3) highlight potential deficiencies in relevance of current international guidelines as they pertain to travelers from emerging economies; (4) frame research questions for travelers from emerging economies and (5) consider roles for ISTM in closing the gap.

Methods: We reviewed past travel medicine research priorities published in 2010 to identify publications that responded to some research questions posed. We also reviewed CDC and WHO recommendations and assessed their applicability to travelers from emerging economies.

Results: Recent publications have responded to some research questions, but gaps remain and new questions have emerged. Re-framing of several key research questions is needed for travelers from emerging economies.

Discussion: A new challenge looms for traditional travel medicine fields to identify and attend to knowledge and guideline gaps, particularly to rethink questions regarding travel medicine to make them relevant for travelers from emerging economies. The International Society of Travel Medicine is well positioned to assist emerging economies assess their resources and needs, formulate research priorities and tailor the development of travel medicine into a framework aligned to their requirements.

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