Acute and potentially life-threatening tropical diseases in western travelers - A GeoSentinel multicenter study, 1996-2011

Academic Article


  • We performed a descriptive analysis of acute and potentially life-threatening tropical diseases among 82,825 ill western travelers reported to GeoSentinel from June of 1996 to August of 2011. We identified 3,655 patients (4.4%) with a total of 3,666 diagnoses representing 13 diseases, including falciparum malaria (76.9%), enteric fever (18.1%), and leptospirosis (2.4%). Ninety-one percent of the patients had fever; the median time from travel to presentation was 16 days. Thirteen (0.4%) patients died: 10 with falciparum malaria, 2 with melioidosis, and 1 with severe dengue. Falciparum malaria was mainly acquired in West Africa, and enteric fever was largely contracted on the Indian subcontinent; leptospirosis, scrub typhus, and murine typhus were principally acquired in Southeast Asia. Western physicians seeing febrile and recently returned travelers from the tropics need to consider a wide profile of potentially life-threatening tropical illnesses, with a specific focus on the most likely diseases described in our large case series. Copyright © 2013 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jensenius M; Han PV; Schlagenhauf P; Schwartz E; Parola P; Castelli F; Von Sonnenburg F; Loutan L; Leder K; Freedman DO
  • Start Page

  • 397
  • End Page

  • 404
  • Volume

  • 88
  • Issue

  • 2