The Travel Medicine Clinic in Umeå is one of Sweden's largest public providers of vaccination and counselling prior to international travel. During the study period it was the only travel medicine clinic in Umeå. This study describes the demography of the visitors to the clinic and travel destinations and durations, as well as vaccinations administered.
This was a retrospective study for the period January 2005 to April 2008 based on pre-travel consultation questionnaires and on vaccine expenditure data. A 10% sample of 16,735 first visits prior to international travel was consecutively selected according to the chronology of the visits.
Data on 1698 travellers were included in the study. Thailand was the most common destination among visitors, accounting for one third of all destinations. Medical problems affecting pre-travel health planning were rare. Four out of 5 visitors (79%) received only 1 vaccination, mainly for hepatitis A. Travellers to Thailand more often sought travel health advice compared to travellers to Turkey, despite the fact that the 2 destinations were almost equally distributed among travellers from Umeå. We found differences between men and women in money spent on vaccines and in particular in vaccination against Japanese encephalitis.
To assess the optimal vaccination level at a travel medicine clinic is difficult. Decisions are affected by general recommendations and the risk perception of the travel medicine practitioner, as well as the risk perception of the traveller. The sex difference found in this study might be due to gender differences in risk perception and should be further investigated.