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BACKGROUND: Malaria remains a significant cause of travel-related mortality and morbidity. Asians are known to have higher risks because they are less careful in pre-travel health preparations. This study reports on a cohort of travellers to malaria-prone regions examined in a previous study, which explored general levels of pre-travel health preparation. OBJECTIVES: To describe the preparations taken by travellers at Hong Kong International Airport going to destinations with significant malaria risks according to the WHO. METHOD: A cross-sectional survey was conducted by personal interviews at the boarding gates of flights in April 2013. The flights were chosen from those to malaria-prone regions (type I or above) from the 2012 WHO International Travel and Health Country List. RESULTS: 403 respondents (75.6% Chinese ethnicity) were travelling to malaria-prone regions. 95.3% were travelling to developing countries including China, Thailand, Malaysia and India. 55.1% of respondents had taken at least one mosquito prevention measure and 8.9% of respondents had malaria chemoprophylaxis. Stepwise multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that female gender (OR=2.21, 95% CI 1.23 to 3.97), residence outside Hong Kong (OR=2.71, 95% CI 1.46 to 5.04) and travel including rural areas (OR=5.67, 95% CI 3.11 to 10.34) were predictors of optimum pre-travel health preparations. CONCLUSIONS: Underestimation of malaria risks was a major barrier to adequate pre-travel health preparations. Targeted health education and information about risk is necessary to improve levels of travel health preparedness.

Original publication

DOI

10.1136/postgradmedj-2014-133126

Type

Journal article

Journal

Postgrad Med J

Publication Date

03/2015

Volume

91

Pages

127 - 131

Keywords

PUBLIC HEALTH, Adult, Aged, Airports, Antimalarials, China, Cross-Sectional Studies, Female, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Hong Kong, Humans, Logistic Models, Malaria, Malaria Vaccines, Male, Middle Aged, Primary Prevention, Sex Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires, Travel, Vaccination