Preparing children for international travel: Need for training and pediatric-focused research

Stefan H.F. Hagmann, Eyal Leshem, Philip R. Fischer, William M. Stauffer, Elizabeth D. Barnett, John C. Christenson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background. The International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM) Pediatric Interest Group (PedIG) was created in 2010. We studied the group’s professional characteristics and practice patterns to identify clinical areas requiring further training and research related to pediatric international travel. Methods. PedIG members were emailed a two-part online questionnaire in September 2011, which comprised questions about professional and practice details, followed by a survey regarding decisions on nine patient scenarios that represent common pediatric pre-travel health challenges. Results. Ninety-three (34%) of 273 members completed the survey. Most were physicians (80%) having a primary specialization in pediatrics (55%) and family medicine (19%). About a third (37%) had acquired the ISTM Certificate in Travel Health® (CTH®); 14 and 11% chose not to provide malaria chemoprophylaxis for a 2-month-old infant and a 13-year-old child traveling to West Africa, respectively. Azithromycin for empiric treatment of travelers’ diarrhea in a 2-year-old traveler to Thailand and Mexico was suggested by 74 and 58%, respectively, while the use of acetazolamide for a 2-month old infant traveling to a high-altitude destination was rarely (13%) chosen. In vaccine-focused scenarios, 71, 69, 21, and 10% would prescribe the meningococcal vaccine for a 6-month-old traveler to Burkina Faso, Japanese encephalitis vaccine to a 10-year-old traveler to Cambodia, hepatitis A vaccine to a 6-month-old traveler to El Salvador, and the typhoid vaccine to a 1-year-old traveler to India, respectively. Conclusions. Members of the PedIG have diverse professional and practice backgrounds. Lack of awareness of established guidelines may place international pediatric travelers at risk for travel-associated morbidity. Strategies are needed to facilitate education and support research in pediatric travel medicine to formulate evidence-based guidelines wherever they are currently missing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2014


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