Travel websites should inform people about malaria, say doctors

January 18, 2011

Travel websites, especially those that offer 'last minute' deals, should inform people about the risks of malaria and the need to take preventative medication before travelling, say experts in infectious diseases today.

Their warning, in a letter to this week's BMJ, follows three recent cases of malaria in UK citizens returning from 'winter sun' holidays to the Gambia, where malaria is highly endemic.

They all used the same travel website. Two had made a late booking and all failed to take preventative drugs (chemoprophylaxis). Within two weeks of returning to the UK, they all presented to hospital with severe malaria.

Imported cases of malaria remain relatively common in the UK, say the doctors. The majority of malaria in the UK is contracted in West Africa (813 of 1,495 cases in 2009) and a significant proportion occurs in holidaymakers (57 in 2009).

They say that this risk could potentially be reduced if travel websites include explicit messages regarding the need for and effective chemoprophylaxis prior to travelling to endemic areas.

"A warning about the need to allow sufficient time to organise these interventions may reduce the particular risk to individuals making late bookings," they conclude.

Explore further: Lab will pay to infect people with malaria

Related Stories

Model identifies targets for eradication of malaria

March 12, 2008

Scientists at the Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (IGC), in Portugal, have shown that Malaria eradication in Africa is sustainable, and any re-emergence of malaria in industrialized nations is highly unlikely. Working with ...

Malaria top killer in Congo

April 30, 2008

Health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo say malaria is the primary cause of illness and death, despite prevention efforts.

Malaria on the increase in the UK

July 4, 2008

A huge rise in the numbers of UK residents travelling to malaria endemic areas, combined with a failure to use prevention measures, has significantly increased cases of imported falciparum malaria in the UK over the past ...

'Airport malaria' -- cause for concern in the US

November 11, 2008

In a global world, significant factors affect the spread of infectious diseases, including international trade, air travel and globalized food production. "Airport malaria" is a term coined by researchers to explain the more ...

Recommended for you

How the finch changes its tune

August 3, 2015

Like top musicians, songbirds train from a young age to weed out errors and trim variability from their songs, ultimately becoming consistent and reliable performers. But as with human musicians, even the best are not machines. ...

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.