Morbidity of foreign travelers in Attica, Greece: a retrospective study

Morbidity of foreign travelers in Attica, Greece

George Theocharis,1 MD, Konstantinos A. Polyzos,2 MD, Evridiki K. Vouloumanou,2 MD,
George Peppas,1,2 MD, PhD, Theodore Spiropoulos,1 MD, Spyridon G. Barbas,1 MD,
Matthew E. Falagas,2,3,4 MD, MSc, DSc

1. SOS Doctors, Athens, Greece
2. Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS), Athens, Greece
3. Department of Medicine, Henry Dunant Hospital, Athens, Greece
4. Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Corresponding author: Matthew Ε. Falagas, MD, MSc, DSc
Alfa Institute of Biomedical Sciences (AIBS),
9 Neapoleos Street, 151 23 Marousi, Athens, Greece
Tel: +30-694-61.10.000
Fax: +30-210-68.39.605
E-mail: [email protected]

Short title: Morbidity of travelers in Attica, Greece
Funding: None
Conflict of interest: None
Word counts: abstract: 249, text: 1766
Number of tables: 3
Number of references: 22



Over the last decade, travel medicine mainly focused on the epidemiology of diseases among travelers to developing countries. Less is known about travel-related morbidity in Europe.


We aimed to present our experience regarding the morbidity of foreign travelers during their visit in Greece during a 5-year period.


We retrospectively evaluated demographic and clinical characteristics of foreign travelers to Greece from 01/01/2005 to 31/12/2009 that sought medical services from a network of physicians performing house-call visits (SOS Doctors) in the area of Attica, Greece.


Overall, 3414 foreign travelers [children (≤18 years): 27%] were identified; 151 (4.4%) required transfer to a hospital. The most common health problems were: respiratory disorders (34%), diarrheal disease (19%), musculoskeletal (12%), dermatologic (7%), non-diarrheal gastrointestinal (6%), and genitourinary (5%) disorders. Respiratory disorders were the most frequent diagnoses during all seasons, followed by diarrheal gastrointestinal and musculoskeletal disorders. Respiratory/dental conditions were observed significantly more frequently in children; no difference between male and female patients regarding the evaluated diagnoses. Respiratory disorders were observed significantly more frequently (p<0.01) during winter (47%), compared to spring (36.7%), summer (30.9%), and autumn (30.5%). Dermatological disorders were observed significantly more frequently (p<0.01) during autumn (8.3%) and summer (7.9%), compared to winter (4.9%) and spring (2.1%).


Despite the limitations of the retrospective methodology, our findings suggest that mild, self-limited respiratory events may be the prevalent cause for seeking primary health care during travel to Greece. Our findings may be extrapolated in other countries with similar climatic and socioeconomic status.


tourists, travel-medicine, European countries, respiratory tract infections, infection-control