Hepatitis B: A cross-sectional survey of knowledge, attitudes and practices amongst backpackers in Thailand

Georgina Frew, Elizabeth McGeorge, Sabrina Grant, Gilles de Wildt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Background

In 2013, 200 million tourists visited countries that are endemic for hepatitis B virus (HBV). Backpackers are potentially at greater risk of hepatitis B than other travellers yet exposure to HBV remains under researched in this population.

Method

A cross-sectional survey of backpackers visiting two islands in Thailand was performed during early 2015. Participation in activities with high HBV exposure risk was recorded, alongside rates of vaccination and an evaluation of knowledge and attitudes towards the risk of HBV.

Results

1680 questionnaires were completed and analysed; the median participant age was 24 (range: 18–68) and 47.9% were male. 20.8% took part in activities with a high risk of HBV exposure. Over two-thirds of the sample were not protected against HBV. 24% were able to correctly identify HBV transmission methods. 44.1% underestimated the risk of HBV in Thailand.

Conclusions

The proportion of backpackers participating in high-risk activities was double the level found in previous studies that have examined the HBV exposure risk amongst travellers to endemic countries. Voluntary risk activities were the largest source of potential exposure to HBV and rates of vaccination are low. Backpackers should be considered for routine vaccination and education on risk behaviours should be included in the pre-travel consultation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-62
Number of pages6
JournalTravel Medicine and Infectious Disease
Volume15
Early online date23 Nov 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

Keywords

  • Vaccination
  • Cross-sectional studies
  • Risk-taking
  • Travel

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