Background: This review summarizes the available evidence on travel-related illness and injury for overseas travellers and, where available, evaluates the literature on occupational travellers.
Methods: The studies evaluated include those published in international scientific literature since 1980 and were identified through a search of relevant databases using selected keywords.
Results: A high proportion of travellers experience health problems. While the majority of problems are minor, they can cause disruption to travel plans, and a small proportion can result in hospital admission or death. Data on occupational travellers are limited but reveal similar findings, although higher rates of illness and injury are often reported and psychological factors appear to be more prominent. This is particularly the case for expatriates.
Conclusions: While data on general travellers can be used to make valid inferences about the travel-related illness or injury in occupational travellers, there are some important differences between the two groups, which need to be considered when making comparisons. Further research in this area is required to evaluate the additional risks to those who travel overseas for work.