Pre-COVID-19 international travel and admission to hospital when back home: travel behavior, carriage of highly resistant microorganisms, and risk perception of patients admitted to a large tertiary care hospital

Anne F. Voor in ’t holt, Adriënne S. van der Schoor, Kees Mourik, Nikolaos Strepis, Corné H.W. Klaassen, Margreet C. Vos, Juliëtte A. Severin*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Background: When people who recently travelled abroad are admitted to a hospital back home, there is a risk of introducing highly resistant microorganisms (HRMO) into the hospital. To minimize this risk, a feasible infection prevention strategy should be developed. In this study, we investigated patients’ travel history and behavior during travel and analyzed whether this was correlated to HRMO carriage at admission. Methods: From May 2018 until August 2019, adult patients admitted to a large tertiary care center in the Netherlands were asked upon hospital admission to participate in the study. Included patients received a questionnaire about risk perception, travel history in the last year, and behavior during travel, and were screened for HRMO carriage at admission using a perianal swab. Results: Six hundred and eight questionnaires were handed out, of which 247 were returned (40.6%). One hundred and thirty (52.6%) patients did not travel abroad in the last year, of whom eight (6.2%) were HRMO carrier at admission. One hundred seventeen (47.4%) patients travelled in the preceding year, of whom seven patients (6.0%) were HRMO carrier at admission. Thirty patients (12%) travelled outside of Europe; in this group HRMO prevalence was 13.3% (4 out of 30). The majority of patients (71.3%) were aware that international travel could lead to carriage of HRMO, and an even larger majority (89.5%) would support a screening strategy upon hospital admission in case of a travel history, to minimize the risk of introducing HRMO. Conclusions: We identified that half of admitted patients to a large tertiary care hospital travelled abroad in the last year, with only a small percentage outside Europe. We discuss several screening strategies and propose a strategy of screening and preemptive isolation of patients who travelled to Asia or Africa in the 2 months before their hospital admission; a strategy that patients would support.

Original languageEnglish
Article number78
JournalAntimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded by the board of directors of the Erasmus MC University Medical Center, Rotterdam, The Netherlands (PE-ONE, 2017).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

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