BACKGROUND: International travel has been recognized as a risk factor contributing to the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). However, tools focused on AMR in the context of international travel and designed to guide decision-making are limited. We aimed at developing an evidence-based educational tool targeting both healthcare professionals (HCPs) and international travellers to help prevent the spread of AMR.
METHODS: A literature review on 12 antimicrobial-resistant bacteria (ARB) listed as critical and high tiers in the WHO Pathogen Priority List covering four key areas was carried out: AMR surveillance data; epidemiological studies reporting ARB prevalence data on carriage in returning travellers; guidance documents reporting indications on screening for ARB in returning travellers and recommendations for ARB prevention for the public. The evidence, catalogued at country-level, provided the content for a series of visualizations that allow assessment of the risk of AMR acquisition through travel.
RESULTS: Up to January 2021, the database includes data on: (i) AMR surveillance for 2.018.241 isolates from 86 countries; (ii) ARB prevalence of carriage from 11.679 international travellers and (iii) 15 guidance documents published by major public health agencies. The evidence allowed the development of a consultation scheme for the evaluation of risk factors, prevalence of carriage, proportion and recommendations for screening of AMR. For the public, pre-travel practical measures to minimize the risk of transmission were framed.
CONCLUSIONS: This easy-to-use, annually updated, freely accessible AMR travel tool (https://epi-net.eu/travel-tool/overview/), is the first of its kind to be developed. For HCPs, it can provide a valuable resource for teaching and a repository that facilitates a stepwise assessment of the risk of AMR spread and strengthen implementation of optimized infection control measures. Similarly, for travellers, the tool has the potential to raise awareness of AMR and outlines preventive measures that reduce the risk of AMR acquisition and spread.