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Traveller exposures to animals: a GeoSentinel analysis.

  • Muehlenbein, Michael P1
  • Angelo, Kristina M2
  • Schlagenhauf, Patricia3
  • Chen, Lin4
  • Grobusch, Martin P5
  • Gautret, Philippe6
  • Duvignaud, Alexandre7
  • Chappuis, François8
  • Kain, Kevin C9
  • Bottieau, Emmanuel10
  • Epelboin, Loïc11
  • Shaw, Marc12
  • Hynes, Noreen13
  • Hamer, Davidson H14
  • 1 Department of Anthropology, Baylor University, 1214 S 4th St, Waco, TX 76706, USA.
  • 2 Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road, Atlanta, Georgia, 30333, USA. , (Georgia)
  • 3 WHO Collaborating Centre for Travellers' Health University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland, Department of Public and Global Health Hirschengraben 84, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 4 Department of Medicine, Mount Auburn Hospital, 330 Mount Auburn Street, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 02138, USA.
  • 5 Department of Infectious Diseases, Division of Internal MEdicine, Amsterdam University Medical Centers, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, PO Box 22660, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1100DD. , (Netherlands)
  • 6 Méditerranée Infection Foundation, 19-21 Boulevard Jean Moulin, 13005, Marseille, France. , (France)
  • 7 Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine , Division of Tropical Medicine and Clinical International Health, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Bordeaux, Hôpital Pellegrin, Place Amélie Raba Léon, 33076, Bordeaux, France. , (France)
  • 8 Department of Primary Care Medicine, Geneva University Hospitals, Rue Gabrielle-Perret-Gentil 4, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. , (Switzerland)
  • 9 Department of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto General Hospital, MaRS Centre, 101 College St, TMDT 10-360A, Ontario, Canada M5G1L7. , (Canada)
  • 10 Department of Clinical Sciences, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Nationalestraat 155, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium. , (Belgium)
  • 11 Unité des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales, Centre Hospitalier Andree Rosemon, Ave des Flamboyants, 97300 Cayenne, French Guiana. , (French Guiana)
  • 12 Department of Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services, James Cook University, 1 James Cook Drive, Townsville, Queensland 4811, Australia. , (Australia)
  • 13 Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, John Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E Monument St, Suite 419, Baltimore, Maryland, 21205, USA.
  • 14 Department of Global Health, Boston University School of Public Health, Crosstown 3rd floor, 801 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, Massachusetts, 02118, USA.
Published Article
Journal of Travel Medicine
Oxford University Press
Publication Date
Nov 09, 2020
DOI: 10.1093/jtm/taaa010
PMID: 31993666


Human coexistence with other animals can result in both intentional and unintentional contact with a variety of mammalian and non-mammalian species. International travellers are at risk for such encounters; travellers risk injury, infection and possibly death from domestic and wild animal bites, scratches, licks and other exposures. The aim of the present analysis was to understand the diversity and distribution of animal-related exposures among international travellers. Data from January 2007 through December 2018 from the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network were reviewed. Records were included if the exposure was non-migration travel with a diagnosis of an animal (dog, cat, monkey, snake or other) bite or other exposure (non-bite); records were excluded if the region of exposure was not ascertainable or if another, unrelated acute diagnosis was reported. A total of 6470 animal exposures (bite or non-bite) were included. The majority (71%) occurred in Asia. Travellers to 167 countries had at least one report of an animal bite or non-bite exposure. The majority (76%) involved dogs, monkeys and cats, although a wide range of wild and domestic species were involved. Almost two-thirds (62.6%) of 4395 travellers with information available did not report a pretravel consultation with a healthcare provider. Minimizing bites and other animal exposures requires education (particularly during pretravel consultations) and behavioral modification. These should be supplemented by the use of pre-exposure rabies vaccination for travellers to high-risk countries (especially to those with limited access to rabies immunoglobulin), as well as encouragement of timely (in-country) post-exposure prophylaxis for rabies and Macacine alphaherpesvirus 1 (herpesvirus B) when warranted. © International Society of Travel Medicine 2020. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please e-mail: [email protected]

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