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Assessing the Risk of Work-Related International Travel

Druckman, Myles MD; Harber, Philip MD, MPH; Liu, Yihang MD, MS; Quigley, Robert L. MD, DPhil

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2014 - Volume 56 - Issue 11 - p 1161–1166
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000314
Original Articles

Objective: To identify factors affecting the likelihood of requiring medical services during international business trips.

Methods: Data from more than 800,000 international trips and medical assistance cases provided to 48 multinational corporations in 2009. Travel destination countries were grouped into four a priori risk-related categories.

Results: Travel to “low” medical risk countries in aggregate accounted for more hospitalizations and medical evacuations than travel to “high” medical risk countries. Nevertheless, the risk per trip was much higher for travel to higher medical risk countries.

Conclusions: Corporations with employees on international travel should allocate sufficient resources to manage and ideally prevent medical issues during business travel. Travel medicine must focus on more than infectious diseases, and programs are necessary for both high- and low-risk regions. Improved understanding of travel-related needs determines resource allocation and risk mitigation efforts.

From International SOS (Drs Druckman, Liu, and Quigley), Trevose, Pa.; and Community, Environment, and Policy Division (Dr Harber), Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, University of Arizona, Tucson.

Address correspondence to: Robert L. Quigley, MD, DPhil, International SOS, 3600 Horizon Blvd., Ste 300, Trevose, PA 19053 (

This work was supported in part by the International Corporate Health Leadership Council and International SOS.

Conflicts of Interest: None declared.

Copyright © 2014 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine