Regional variation in travel-related illness acquired in Africa, March 1997-May 2011

Marc Mendelson*, Pauline V. Han, Peter Vincent, Frank von Sonnenburg, Jakob P. Cramer, Louis Loutan, Kevin C. Kain, Philippe Parola, Stefan Hagmann, Effrossyni Gkrania-Klotsas, Mark Sotir, Patricia Schlagenhauf, Rahul Anand, Hilmir Ásgeirsson, Elizabeth D. Barnett, Sarah Borwein, Gerd Dieter Burchard, John D. Cahill, Daniel Campion, Francesco CastelliEric Caumes, Lin H. Chen, Bradley A. Connor, Christina M. Coyle, Jakob Cramer, Jane Eason, Cécile Ficko, Vanessa Field, David O. Freedman, Abram Goorhuis, Martin P. Grobusch, Alejandra Gurtman, Devon C. Hale, Annemarie Hern, Noreen Hynes, Mogens Jensenius, Robert Kass, Amy D. Klion, Phyllis E. Kozarsky, Karin Leder, Carmelo Licitra, Rogelio López-Vélez, Michael W. Lynch, Alberto Matteelli, Anne McCarthy, George MckInley, Susan McLellan, José Antonio Pérez Molina, Robert Muller, Thomas B. Nutman, Alice Pérignon, Phi Truong Hoang Phu, Watcharapong Piyaphanee, Christophe Rapp, David Roesel, Eli Schwartz, Marc Shaw, Udomsak Silachamroon, William Stauffer, Natsuo Tachikawa, Joseph Torresi, Johan Ursing, Jean Vincelette, Patricia Walker, Andy Wang, Mary E. Wilson, Henry Wu, Yukihiro Yoshimura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


To understand geographic variation in travel-related illness acquired in distinct African regions, we used the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network database to analyze records for 16,893 ill travelers returning from Africa over a 14-year period. Travelers to northern Africa most commonly reported gastrointestinal illnesses and dog bites. Febrile illnesses were more common in travelers returning from sub-Saharan countries. Eleven travelers died, 9 of malaria; these deaths occurred mainly among male business travelers to sub-Saharan Africa. The profile of illness varied substantially by region: malaria predominated in travelers returning from Central and Western Africa; schistosomiasis, strongyloidiasis, and dengue from Eastern and Western Africa; and loaisis from Central Africa. There were few reports of vaccine-preventable infections, HIV infection, and tuberculosis. Geographic profiling of illness acquired during travel to Africa guides targeted pretravel advice, expedites diagnosis in ill returning travelers, and may influence destination choices in tourism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-541
Number of pages10
JournalEmerging Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


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