Vaccinations and Malaria Chemoprophylaxis of Adolescents Traveling From Greece to International Destinations: A Nine-Year Prospective Study

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Abstract

Background:

There are few publications focusing on vaccination and malaria chemoprophylaxis in adolescent travelers. We assessed pretravel vaccinations and malaria chemoprophylaxis of adolescents 12–18 years old traveling from Greece to international destinations.

Methods:

We prospectively studied 239 adolescents 12–18 years old during 2008–2016. A standard questionnaire was used to collect data.

Results:

Adolescents sought pretravel services at a mean of 24.1 days before departure. Their main destinations were sub-Saharan Africa (79 adolescents; 33.1%), Latin America (56; 23.5%) and North America (26; 10.9%). Almost half (46.1%) of them planned to stay abroad for at least 3 months. Sixteen (7.4%) adolescents planned to visit friends and relatives. The yellow fever vaccine and the typhoid vaccine were the most frequently administered vaccines (74.1% and 20.5%, respectively), while the hepatitis A vaccine and the tetanus–diphtheria vaccine accounted for most routine vaccinations (18% and 14.2%, respectively). The rabies and the typhoid fever vaccines were administered inadequately to adolescents traveling to endemic areas. Malaria chemoprophylaxis should have been prescribed in many cases traveling to sub-Saharan Africa and the Indian subcontinent.

Conclusions:

Only a small number of adolescents from Greece traveling abroad seek pretravel counseling. We found significant gaps in typhoid fever and rabies vaccinations of adolescents traveling to endemic areas. We also found gaps in prescription of malaria chemoprophylaxis for those traveling to high-risk areas. There is a need to develop communication strategies to access adolescent travelers and improve appropriate vaccination and use of malaria chemoprophylaxis.

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