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9: Infections in the returned traveller

David F M Looke and Jennifer M B Robson, Series Editors:
Med J Aust 2002; 177 (4): 212-219.

Summary

  • The usual presentation of a returned traveller is with a particular syndrome — fever, respiratory infection, diarrhoea, eosinophilia, or skin or soft tissue infection — or for screening for asymptomatic infection.

  • Fever in a returned traveller requires prompt investigation to prevent deaths from malaria; diagnosis of malaria may require up to three blood films over 36–48 hours.

  • Diarrhoea is the most common health problem in travellers and is caused predominantly by bacteria; persistent diarrhoea is less likely to have an infectious cause, but its prognosis is usually good.

  • While most travel-related infections present within six months of return, some important chronic infections may present months or years later (eg, strongyloidiasis, schistosomiasis).

  • Travellers who have been bitten by an animal require evaluation for rabies prophylaxis.

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  • David F M Looke1
  • Jennifer M B Robson2
  • Series Editors:

  • 1 Infection Management Services – Southern Queensland, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD.
  • 2 Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, Taringa, QLD.

Correspondence: jrobson@snp.com.au

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