Travel medicine

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Under travel medicine is defined as the field of medicine that deals with the prevention ( prophylaxis ) by vaccinations , the diagnosis and treatment of acquired diseases travel deals. This overlaps with the field of tropical medicine .


International travel has increased over the past few decades. You not only travel more often, but also to more distant destinations. There are health risks, especially when traveling to tropical and subtropical countries. Half of all travelers to these countries fall ill during or after the trip; 10% need to see a doctor because of these health problems; 8% become so seriously ill that they are temporarily bedridden. After all, 3% of these travelers are still unable to work after returning from vacation. Information about health risks in other European countries ( e.g. TBE ) and on other continents as well as knowledge of how these health risks can be avoided or reduced is the task of travel medicine.

Preventive care (prophylaxis)

The basis for avoiding illnesses while traveling is informing travelers about the health risks in their host countries. In addition to precautionary measures such as vaccinations and prophylactic medication (e.g. chemoprophylaxis against malaria ), compliance with certain rules of conduct can also prevent infection with diseases. This exposure prophylaxis includes, for example, protection against the stings of disease-transmitting articulated animals ( vectors ) with bed nets or repellents , compliance with basic hygiene rules or the use of sunscreens .


In addition to the vaccinations recommended in Germany, Austria and Switzerland , vaccinations against infections, for which there is an increased risk in the travel countries, are an important means of disease prevention when traveling. There are compulsory vaccinations, which are mandatory upon entry, and voluntary vaccinations.

A country can make a compulsory vaccination mandatory for travelers from all countries or only for travelers from certain risk countries. According to the World Health Organization, only proof of a vaccination against yellow fever should be required in parts of international travel . This mainly affects people who have previously been in countries with yellow fever and then travel to countries where the vector mosquitoes occur.

For participants in the Hajj and Umrah , the Saudi Ministry of Health stipulates a yellow fever vaccination as well as a quadrivalent vaccination against meningococci of types A, C, Y and W135. When entering from risk countries, an oral polio vaccination is carried out, an influenza vaccination is recommended.

The Standing Vaccination Commission also recommends some vaccinations as an indication vaccination for travel to areas with a corresponding risk of infection:

A vaccination against mosquito-borne Japanese encephalitis is also an option for longer stays in corresponding risk areas .

Diagnostics for travelers returning

Febrile illnesses in the tropics and subtropics in particular can be acutely dangerous and can be caused by a wide variety of pathogens (e.g. malaria , leishmaniasis , trypanosomiasis , typhus , rickettsioses , Q fever , dengue , chikungunya ). The quick and correct clarification of illnesses among travelers returning requires a broad knowledge of the illnesses occurring in the travel countries, their frequency and their diagnosis.

Trend and development

Since people now increasingly penetrate into areas of the world that were previously difficult to access and in which there may be special health risks, travel medicine is becoming increasingly important. Due to the small number of tropical medicine specialists, it is necessary that other doctors, for example general practitioners or occupational doctors as well as health authorities , can provide competent information about health risks when traveling.


  • Reference manual for vaccination and travel medicine 2014 . MedPrä, Düsseldorf 2014, ISBN 978-3-9815014-3-8 .
  • CRM Travel Medicine Guide . 50th edition. Thieme Verlag, Düsseldorf 2014.
  • CRM manual for traveling with pre-existing conditions . Practical advice for advising travelers with health risks. Thieme Verlag, Düsseldorf 2014.
  • B. Rieke, Th. Küpper, CM Muth (Ed.): Modern travel medicine . Handbook for doctors, pharmacists, travelers. 2., completely revised Edition. Gentner Verlag, Stuttgart 2013, ISBN 3-87247-754-4 .
  • H. Kretschmer, G. Kusch, H. Scherbaum (Eds.): Reisemedizin . Advice in the medical practice. 2nd, revised and expanded edition. Elsevier, Munich 2005, ISBN 978-3-437-21511-7 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. WHO information on the Yellow Fever. (English)
  2. WHO country list: Annex I to International travel and health (PDF; English)
  3. Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia (English) accessed on August 31, 2014
  4. WHO Weekly epidemiological record 89/2014. Pp. 357-360
  5. Epidemiological Bulletin . Status: August 2014. Recommendations of the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) at the Robert Koch Institute , 34/2014, pp. 305–338.
  6. Leaflet Japanese Encephalitis. (PDF) Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, 2013