[Imported infectious diseases associated with international trips by adult immigrants to visit family and friends].
ABSTRACT To describe the infectious diseases imported by immigrants visiting friends and relatives in their countries of origin.
We performed a cross-sectional descriptive study of all imported infectious diseases among adult patients between 01/2001-12/2008. The study population was classified in 3 groups: a) immigrants visiting friends and relatives; b) tourists, and c) non-travelling immigrants. Diseases were classified as (a) cosmopolitan or (b) tropical endemic, and, according to their severity as (a) mild, (b) serious, and (c) potentially lethal.
A total of 761 patients were analyzed. The mean age was 31.7 (SD: 12.4) years. Of these, there were 90 immigrants visiting friends and relatives, 269 tourists and 402 non-travelling immigrants. Immigrants visiting friends and relatives attended International Health Centres prior to travel significantly less than tourists (32.2% vs. 57.2%; p <0.001) and more frequently travelled to sub-Saharan Africa (33.3% vs. 20.4%; p=0.01). Imported diseases considered as potentially lethal were more likely among immigrants visiting friends and relatives than tourists [OR=5.16 (95%CI: 2.08-12.8)] and non-travelling immigrants [OR=7.17 (95%CI: 2.82-18.2)].
Immigrants visiting friends and relatives travelled more to sub-Saharan Africa and more frequently imported potentially lethal acute diseases.