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1.  The new health threats of exotic and global travel 
doi:10.3399/bjgp12X654821
PMCID: PMC3459746  PMID: 23265199
2.  Challenges facing providers of imported malaria-related healthcare services for Africans visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) 
Malaria Journal  2014;13:17.
Background
In many non-malarious countries, imported malaria disproportionately affects Africans visiting friends and relatives (VFRs). Most previous research has focused on understanding the knowledge, attitudes and practices of these travellers, but has not examined the quality of prevention, diagnosis and treatment services provided. The aim of this study was to understand the perspective of providers of malaria-related healthcare services to VFRs about factors impacting on the quality of these and to make recommendations about improvements.
Methods
Thirty semi-structured interviews were conducted with practice nurses providing pre-travel health advice (n = 10), general practitioners (GPs) (n = 10), hospital consultants (n = 3), and community pharmacists (n = 7) working in areas of London with large African communities and a relatively high burden of imported malaria. A thematic analysis of the results was undertaken.
Results
Time constraints in GPs’ surgeries and competing priorities, lack of confidence in issuing advice on mosquito avoidance, the cost of chemoprophylaxis and travel at short notice prevented the provision of adequate malaria prevention advice. Long GP waiting times, misdiagnoses, lack of disclosure by VFRs about recent travel, and the issue of where malaria treatment should be provided were raised as potential barriers to diagnosis and treatment.
Conclusions
Some issues raised by respondents are relevant to all travellers, irrespective of their reason for travel. The challenge for healthcare providers to reduce the burden of imported malaria in VFRs is to provide services of sufficient quality to persuade them to adopt these in preference to those with which they may be familiar in their country of birth. Although no single intervention will significantly lower the burden of imported malaria, addressing the issues raised in this research could make a significant impact.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-13-17
PMCID: PMC3896699  PMID: 24405512
African VFRs; Imported malaria; Healthcare services; Migrant health
3.  Malaria knowledge and utilization of chemoprophylaxis in the UK population and in UK passengers departing to malaria-endemic areas 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:461.
Background
The burden of imported malaria is predominantly in travellers visiting friends and relatives (VFR) in sub-Saharan Africa. The failure of this group to use chemoprophylaxis is recognized as the most important risk factor for the high incidence of disease. Understanding the reasons for failure to follow national recommendations may relate to knowledge, risk perception, cost, and peer pressure. Research into these variables is critical to understand and change practices in this group and this study was designed to explore whether knowledge, risk perception and prophylaxis use differs between travellers’ to various destinations and the rest of the UK population.
Methods
Two face-to-face questionnaire surveys were conducted to collect information on demographics, malaria knowledge, source, and quality of pre-travel advice, past travel experience and perceived malaria threat. One was an IPSOS survey of individuals representative of the UK population. The other was a departure lounge survey (Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)) of passengers departing to malarious regions detailing destinations and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results
Around a quarter of the 1,991 UK population surveyed had previously travelled to a malarious area. Five-hundred departing passengers were interviewed, of which 80% travelled for leisure (56% VFR’s) and 42% were travelling to West Africa. Malaria knowledge among the UK population (score 58.6) was significantly lower than that of individuals who had previously travelled or were travelling (63.8 and 70.7 respectively). Malaria knowledge was similar in individuals who had and had not sought pre-travel advice and travellers using and not using chemoprophylaxis for their journey. Leisure travellers to Ghana and Nigeria were predominantly VFRs (74%), whilst 66% of travellers to Kenya were tourists. Despite similar high knowledge scores and perceived (>90%) threat of the lethality of malaria in the three groups, chemoprophylaxis use in Nigerians (50%) was substantialy lower than in passengers departing to Kenya (78%) and Ghana (82%). More frequent annual return visits were made to Nigeria (72%) than to Ghana (38%) or Kenya (23%).
Conclusion
Travellers had more malaria knowledge than the non-travelled UK population. Malaria knowledge, perceived threat, travel experience, and quality of pre-travel advice appear unrelated to the use of chemoprophylaxis in passengers. Reducing malaria in VFR travellers will require strategies other than improving malaria knowledge and enhancing malaria risk awareness.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-461
PMCID: PMC3878108  PMID: 24359323
Travellers; Malaria; Chemoprophylaxis; Risk perception; Compliance; VFRs
4.  Does public subsidy of the cost of malaria chemoprophylaxis reduce imported malaria? A comparative policy analysis 
Malaria Journal  2013;12:238.
Background
Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for at-risk travellers visiting malaria endemic regions. The majority of travellers with imported malaria have not used this, and travellers visiting friends and relatives have the largest burden of malaria and the lowest compliance to chemoprophylaxis. In 1995, the UK’s Department of Health (DH) implemented a policy to make travellers fully responsible for the cost when purchasing chemoprophylaxis. This policy was not implemented in three Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) in London due to concern about the potential increase of imported malaria in their residents, and they maintained the public subsidy. An impact evaluation of the policy change was undertaken to determine if the continued subsidy reduced the incidence of imported malaria in one of the boroughs where the subsidy was maintained when compared to a borough where no subsidy was provided.
Methods
Between 2007 and 2010 prescriptions for malaria chemoprophylaxis were collected from pharmacy records and PCTs, and all cases of imported malaria reported from the tertiary hospital in each of the two boroughs were compared.
Results
The dispensed chemoprophylaxis prescriptions were nearly 8.8 times higher in Lambeth (where subsidized drugs were provided), than in Hackney. A Poisson model revealed significantly fewer reports of imported malaria per capita were made in Lambeth compared to Hackney (p = 0.042).
Conclusions
The difference in malaria reports between the boroughs only just reached statistical significance, despite the considerable difference in chemoprophylaxis prescribing between the boroughs. Some travellers may not consider using chemoprophylaxis, irrespective of the cost. Regular evaluations of the recent policy changes in areas where malaria is subsidized will be important.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-12-238
PMCID: PMC3723845  PMID: 23848986
Imported malaria; Chemoprophylaxis; Subsidized costs; Evaluation
5.  Malaria chemoprophylaxis recommendations for immigrants to Europe, visiting relatives and friends - a Delphi method study 
Malaria Journal  2011;10:137.
Background
Numbers of travellers visiting friends and relatives (VFRs) from Europe to malaria endemic countries are increasing and include long-term and second generation immigrants, who represent the major burden of malaria cases imported back into Europe. Most recommendations for malaria chemoprophylaxis lack a solid evidence base, and often fail to address the cultural, social and economic needs of VFRs.
Methods
European travel medicine experts, who are members of TropNetEurop, completed a sequential series of questionnaires according to the Delphi method. This technique aims at evaluating and developing a consensus through repeated iterations of questionnaires. The questionnaires in this study included questions about professional experience with VFRs, controversial issues in malaria prophylaxis, and 16 scenarios exploring indications for prescribing and choice of chemoprophylaxis.
Results
The experience of participants was rather diverse as was their selection of chemoprophylaxis regimen. A significant consensus was observed in only seven of 16 scenarios. The analysis revealed a wide variation in prescribing choices with preferences grouped by region of practice and increased prescribing seen in Northern Europe compared to Central Europe.
Conclusions
Improving the evidence base on efficacy, adherence to chemoprophylaxis and risk of malaria and encouraging discussion among experts, using techniques such as the Delphi method, may reduce the variability in prescription in European travel clinics.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-10-137
PMCID: PMC3126754  PMID: 21599909
6.  The incidence of malaria in travellers to South-East Asia: is local malaria transmission a useful risk indicator? 
Malaria Journal  2010;9:266.
Background
The presence of ongoing local malaria transmission, identified though local surveillance and reported to regional WHO offices, by S-E Asian countries, forms the basis of national and international chemoprophylaxis recommendations in western countries. The study was designed to examine whether the strategy of using malaria transmission in a local population was an accurate estimate of the malaria threat faced by travellers and a correlate of malaria in returning travellers.
Methods
Malaria endemicity was described from distribution and intensity in the local populations of ten S-E Asian destination countries over the period 2003-2008 from regionally reported cases to WHO offices. Travel acquired malaria was collated from malaria surveillance reports from the USA and 12 European countries over the same period. The numbers of travellers visiting the destination countries was based on immigration and tourism statistics collected on entry of tourists to the destination countries.
Results
In the destination countries, mean malaria rates in endemic countries ranged between 0.01 in Korea to 4:1000 population per year in Lao PDR, with higher regional rates in a number of countries. Malaria cases imported into the 13 countries declined by 47% from 140 cases in 2003 to 66 in 2008. A total of 608 cases (27.3% Plasmodium falciparum (Pf)) were reported over the six years, the largest number acquired in Indonesia, Thailand and Korea. Four countries had an incidence > 1 case per 100,000 traveller visits; Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos (range 1 to 11.8-case per 100,000 visits). The remaining six countries rates were < 1 case per 100,000 visits. The number of visitors arriving from source countries increased by 60% from 8.5 Million to 13.6 million over the 6 years.
Conclusion
The intensity of malaria transmission particularly sub-national activity did not correlate with the risk of travellers acquiring malaria in the large numbers of arriving visitors. It is proposed to use a threshold incidence of > 1 case per 100,000 visits to consider targeted malaria prophylaxis recommendations to minimize use of chemoprophylaxis for low risk exposure during visits to S-E Asia. Policy needs to be adjusted regularly to reflect the changing risk.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-9-266
PMCID: PMC2959067  PMID: 20920352
7.  Declining incidence of malaria imported into the UK from West Africa 
Malaria Journal  2008;7:235.
Background
Two thirds of all falciparum malaria cases reported in the United Kingdom (UK) are acquired in West Africa (WA). To ensure recommendations and guidelines for malaria prophylaxis in travellers to West Africa correlate to the risk of infection, a study was undertaken to examine recent trends and predict future patterns of imported malaria acquired by UK residents visiting West Africa and West African visitors to the UK between 1993 and 2006.
Methods and Results
Using passenger numbers and malaria surveillance reports, the data revealed a 2.3-fold increase in travel to West Africa with a five-fold increase in travelers visiting friends and relatives (VFR). Malaria incidence fell through the study period, the greatest decline noted in VFR with a fall from 196 cases/1,000 person-years to 52 cases/1,000 person-years, 9.8% per year p < 0.0001. The risk for travellers from the UK visiting for other reasons declined 2.7 fold, at an annual decrease of 7.0%, with the incidence in West African visitors to the UK falling by 2.3 fold, a rate of 7.9% annually.
Discussion
The reduction in incidence among all three groups of travellers may be explained by several factors; changing chemoprophylaxis usage and/or increased travel in urban areas where malaria risk has declined over the past decade, or widespread reduction in malaria transmission in West Africa.
Conclusion
With the reduction in malaria incidence seen in both visitors to and from West Africa, the most rational explanation for these findings is a fall in malaria transmission in West Africa, which may require a change in chemoprophylaxis policy for UK travelers over the next 5–10 years.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-7-235
PMCID: PMC2613412  PMID: 19000299
8.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2008;337(7661):103-106.
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
9.  Imported malaria and high risk groups: observational study using UK surveillance data 1987-2006 
Objective To examine temporal, geographic, and sociodemographic trends in case reporting and case fatality of malaria in the United Kingdom.
Setting National malaria reference laboratory surveillance data in the UK.
Design Observational study using prospectively gathered surveillance data and data on destinations from the international passenger survey.
Participants 39 300 cases of proved malaria in the UK between 1987 and 2006.
Main outcome measures Plasmodium species; sociodemographic details (including age, sex, and country of birth and residence); mortality; destination, duration, and purpose of international travel; and use of chemoprophylaxis.
Results Reported cases of imported malaria increased significantly over the 20 years of the study; an increasing proportion was attributable to Plasmodium falciparum (P falciparum/P vivax reporting ratio 1.3:1 in 1987-91 and 5.4:1 in 2002-6). P vivax reports declined from 3954 in 1987-91 to 1244 in 2002-6. Case fatality of reported P falciparum malaria did not change over this period (7.4 deaths per 1000 reported cases). Travellers visiting friends and relatives, usually in a country in Africa or Asia from which members of their family migrated, accounted for 13 215/20 488 (64.5%) of all malaria reported, and reports were geographically concentrated in areas where migrants from Africa and South Asia to the UK have settled. People travelling for this purpose were at significantly higher risk of malaria than other travellers and were less likely to report the use of any chemoprophylaxis (odds ratio of reported chemoprophylaxis use 0.23, 95% confidence interval 0.21 to 0.25).
Conclusions Despite the availability of highly effective preventive measures, the preventable burden from falciparum malaria has steadily increased in the UK while vivax malaria has decreased. Provision of targeted and appropriately delivered preventive messages and services for travellers from migrant families visiting friends and relatives should be a priority.
doi:10.1136/bmj.a120
PMCID: PMC2453297  PMID: 18599471
10.  The low and declining risk of malaria in travellers to Latin America: is there still an indication for chemoprophylaxis? 
Malaria Journal  2007;6:114.
A comparison was made between local malaria transmission and malaria imported by travellers to identify the utility of national and regional annual parasite index (API) in predicting malaria risk and its value in generating recommendations on malaria prophylaxis for travellers.
Regional malaria transmission data was correlated with malaria acquired in Latin America and imported into the USA and nine European countries. Between 2000 and 2004, most countries reported declining malaria transmission. Highest API's in 2003/4 were in Surinam (287.4) Guyana (209.2) and French Guiana (147.4). The major source of travel associated malaria was Honduras, French Guiana, Guatemala, Mexico and Ecuador. During 2004 there were 6.3 million visits from the ten study countries and in 2005, 209 cases of malaria of which 22 (11%) were Plasmodium falciparum. The risk of adverse events are high and the benefit of avoided benign vivax malaria is very low under current policy, which may be causing more harm than benefit.
doi:10.1186/1475-2875-6-114
PMCID: PMC2020466  PMID: 17716367
11.  Malaria Clusters among Illegal Chinese Immigrants to Europe through Africa 
Emerging Infectious Diseases  2003;9(9):1177-1178.
Between November 2002 and March 2003, 17 cases of malaria (1 fatal) were observed in illegal Chinese immigrants who traveled to Italy through Africa. A further cluster of 12 was reported in August, 2002. Several immigrants traveled by air, making the risk of introducing sudden acute respiratory syndrome a possibility should such illegal immigrations continue.
doi:10.3201/eid0909.030353
PMCID: PMC3016778  PMID: 14519261
Malaria; Illegal migrants; China; Europe; Italy; Cote d’Ivoire; SARS virus; travel
12.  Mefloquine to prevent malaria 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1998;316(7149):1980.
PMCID: PMC1113420  PMID: 9641951

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