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MALARIAL RISK

The risk of dying from Malaria in short term travellers (2 - 6 weeks) is around 1 in 4000 if no preventative medication taken. Each year many travellers fall ill with malaria while visiting countries where the disease is endemic, and well over 10,000 fall ill on return to their home country. About 1% of patients with falciparum malaria infection die. *1
A recent German study of travellers spending 2 -6 weeks in Kenya showed that on average 20% had evidence of malarial antibodies (ie. were bitten by malarial carrying mosquitoes) The risk was higher in independent travellers (50%) and lower in package tours (5%) *
2
* Ref 1/. WHO year book 2002  page132...www.who.int\ith\chapter07_02.html
*2/. Travel seminar notes May 2000 - Jelinet et al: JID 1996

Malarial Prevention Medication Considerations .. also mefloquine myths

"No drug is devoid of side-effects, and chemoprophylactic drugs should not be prescribed in the absence of a malaria risk. Not all travellers to countries where malaria exists should automatically be prescribed prophylaxis. This is especially true for tourists and business travellers who will visit only urban areas that are malaria-free." *

"Both travellers and doctors should be aware that no antimalarial prophylactic regimen gives complete protection. Falciparum malaria, which can be fatal, must always be suspected if fever, with or without other symptoms, develops at any time between one week after the first possible exposure to malaria and two months (or even later in rare cases) after the last possible exposure.
The most important factors that determine the survival of patients with falciparum malaria are early diagnosis and appropriate treatment." 
 

Information mostly taken from: "International Travel and Health" (WHO year book - internet only)
Australian Immunisation Handbook, 8th Edition - 9/2003 - Part1 - Part 2 & Part 3 (large pdf files)
Centre for Disease Control, USA -  www.cdc.gov/travel Travel Health Seminar Oct 96, June 97,Feb 98, March 99, May 2000, August 2002 & March 2005 - Victorian Medical Postgraduate Foundation.
Manual of Travel Medicine, Melbourne, Oct 2004. Updated 06/09/2006.  Additional references & disclaimer.

 

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North East Valley Division General Practice, Victoria, Australia, Disclaimer 
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