Influenza-like illness in travelers to the developing world

Stuart Wood, Kalyani Telu, David Tribble, Anuradha Ganesan, Anjali Kunz, Mary Fairchok, Elizabeth Schnaubelt, Mark D. Johnson, Ryan Maves, Jamie Fraser, Indrani Mitra, Tahaniyat Lalani, Heather C. Yun*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Travelers to developing regions are at risk for development of influenza-like illness (ILI). Little is known of traveler and trip characteristics associated with the development of ILI. TravMil is a prospective observational study, enrolling subjects presenting to six military travel clinics or predeployment-screening sites. We analyzed pre- and posttravel surveys from travelers visiting regions outside of the continental United States, Western or Northern Europe, Canada, Australia, or New Zealand between January 2010 and March 2016. Influenza-like illness was defined as a self-reported fever associated with either sore throat or cough. Trip and traveler characteristics were analyzed to determine risk factors for the development of ILI. Two thousand nine hundred and thirty-two trips were recorded (55% male, median age 45 years, 69% white, 51% on vacation, median travel duration 17 days). The 2,337 trips included the number of self-reported influenza vaccinations in the preceding 5 years (median 5). Eleven percent of the trips were complicated by an ILI lasting a median of 5 days; 70% and 17% of these reported upper and lower respiratory tract infection, respectively, and 12% reported both. On multivariate analysis, increased risk of ILI was associated with female gender (odds ratio [OR]: 1.60 [confidence interval (CI): 1.25-2.05], P < 0.01), age (years) (OR: 1.01 [CI: 1.01-1.02], P < 0.01); and duration of travel (days) (OR: 1.01 [CI: 1.00-1.01], P < 0.01). Influenza-like illness is common in travelers, regardless of traveler characteristics, purpose of travel, destination, or season of year. Female gender, older age, and longer duration of travel were associated with an increased risk of ILI. Additional tools and strategies are needed to prevent ILI in international travelers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1274
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2018


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