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Adherence to Travel Health Guidelines: The Experience of Nigerian Immigrants in Houston, Texas.

Publication Abstract

Leonard, Lori, and Mark VanLandingham. 2001. "Adherence to Travel Health Guidelines: The Experience of Nigerian Immigrants in Houston, Texas." Journal of Immigrant Health, 3(1): 31-45.

The objective of this study was to learn about the travel health practices of Nigerians in Houston, Texas, and to describe factors affecting adherence to recommendations for the prevention of malaria, typhoid, and hepatitis A set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Data were collected through focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with travelers and health care providers. Data collection and analysis relied on a process-based framework that included questions about health and health-maintenance strategies before, during, and after travel. The cost of travel health services and the availability of vaccines and medications were important structural barriers to adherence. Perceptions of individual susceptibility and disease severity varied across the infections of interest. Travelers perceive themselves to be at risk for malaria, but are generally not concerned about its consequences. A notable exception is the fear of becoming symptomatic post-travel in the United States. Typhoid was less salient than malaria, and few had heard of or worried about acquiring hepatitis A. Stigma associated with the acquisition of travel-related conditions and the perceived incompetence of physicians to treat illnesses related to overseas travel, and malaria in particular, also affect preventive decisions and strategies. The results of the study have broad relevance for the traveling public and for programs and services that seek to improve travel health and travel health care.

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