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Morbidity among child travellers with sickle-cell disease visiting tropical areas: an observational study in a French tertiary care centre
  1. Julie Sommet1,
  2. Florence Missud2,
  3. Laurent Holvoet2,
  4. Ghislaine Ithier2,
  5. Mathie Lorrot1,3,
  6. Malika Benkerrou2,
  7. Albert Faye1,3
  1. 1Pédiatrie Générale, Hôpital Robert Debré, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France
  2. 2Centre de la Drépanocytose, Hôpital Robert Debré, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, Paris, France
  3. 3Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, UFR de Médecine Paris Diderot, Paris, France
  1. Correspondence to Dr Julie Sommet, Service de Pédiatrie Générale, Hôpital Robert Debré, Assistance Publique des Hôpitaux de Paris, 48 Bd Sérurier, Paris 75019, France; jsommet{at}


Objective To examine morbidity among children with sickle-cell disease (SCD) during and after travel to a tropical area.

Design Observational study.

Setting Tertiary care children; Robert Debré Hospital, Paris, France.

Population Children with SCD younger than 18 years old and managed in the SCD referral centre at the Robert Debré Hospital who travelled to a tropical or subtropical area between 1 June 2009 and 31 December 2009.

Main outcome To assess morbidity, we used the number of clinical events requiring medical consultation during the trip as the primary outcome and the number of hospitalisations required after returning as the secondary outcome.

Results Thirty-nine children were included. The median age was 7.8 years (4.3–11.7 years). All of the children and their parents attended a pretravel visit focusing on the prevention of travel-related diseases. Twelve children (30%) consulted a physician while they were abroad. Thirteen children (33%) were hospitalised, and 23 children (59%) consulted a physician while they were abroad or within 3 months after returning to France. Considering the 3 months before and after travel, the number of children hospitalised after travel (n=12, 30.7%) was significantly higher than the number hospitalised before (n=4, 10.2%; p=0.01). One child was hospitalised for multifocal osteoarthritis as a complication of Salmonella enterica septicaemia of gastrointestinal origin.

Conclusions Travels to tropical areas are associated with high morbidity in children with SCD. Salmonella infection is a particularly significant threat, and empirical antibiotic therapy should be prescribed routinely for traveller's diarrhoea in this population.

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Tropical Paediatrics

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