Impact, healthcare utilization and costs of travel-associated mosquito-borne diseases in international travellers: a prospective study

Yesim Tozan, Tyler Y. Headley, Emilie Javelle, Philippe Gautret, Martin Grobusch, Cornelis de Pijper, Hilmir Asgeirsson, Lin H. Chen, Daniel Bourque, Marta D. Menéndez, Lucia Moro, Federico Gobbi, Adrián Sánchez-Montalvá, Bradley A. Connor, Alberto Matteelli, Verena Crosato, Ralph Huits, Michael Libman, Davidson H. Hamer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: International travellers frequently acquire infectious diseases whilst travelling, yet relatively little is known about the impact and economic burden of these illnesses on travellers. We conducted a prospective exploratory costing study on adult returning travellers with falciparum malaria, dengue, chikungunya or Zika virus. Methods: Patients were recruited in eight Travel and Tropical Medicine clinics between June 2016 and March 2020 upon travellers’ first contact with the health system in their country of residence. The patients were presented with a structured 52-question self-administered questionnaire after full recovery to collect information on patients’ healthcare utilization and out-of-pocket costs both in the destination and home country, and about income and other financial losses due to the illness. Results: A total of 134 patients participated in the study (malaria, 66; dengue, 51; chikungunya, 8; Zika virus, 9; all fully recovered; median age 40; range 18–72 years). Prior to travelling, 42% of patients reported procuring medical evacuation insurance. Across the four illnesses, only 7% of patients were hospitalized abroad compared with 61% at home. Similarly, 15% sought ambulatory services whilst abroad compared with 61% at home. The average direct out-of-pocket hospitalization cost in the destination country (USD $2236; range: $108–$5160) was higher than the direct out-of-pocket ambulatory cost in the destination country (USD $327; range: $0–$1560), the direct out-of-pocket hospitalization cost at home (USD $35; range: $0–$120) and the direct out-of-pocket ambulatory costs at home (US$45; range: $0–$192). Respondents with dengue or malaria lost a median of USD $570 (Interquartile range [IQR] 240–1140) and USD $240 (IQR 0–600), respectively, due to their illness, whilst those with chikungunya and Zika virus lost a median of USD $2400 (IQR 1200–3600) and USD $1500 (IQR 510–2625), respectively. Conclusion: Travellers often incur significant costs due to travel-acquired diseases. Further research into the economic impact of these diseases on travellers should be conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbertaad060
JournalJournal of Travel Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2023


  • Travellers
  • Zika virus
  • chikungunya
  • cost of illness
  • dengue
  • malaria
  • out-of-pocket cos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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