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Pre-travel health preparation for malaria prevention among Hong Kong travellers
  1. Kevin K C Hung1,2,
  2. Agatha K Y Lin3,
  3. Calvin K Y Cheng1,3,
  4. Emily Y Y Chan1,3,
  5. Colin A Graham1,2
  1. 1Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
  2. 2Accident & Emergency Medicine Academic Unit, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
  3. 3Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China
  1. Correspondence to Dr Kevin K C Hung, Collaborating Centre for Oxford University and CUHK for Disaster and Medical Humanitarian Response, JC School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR, China; kevin.hung{at}cuhk.edu.hk

Abstract

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.

  • PUBLIC HEALTH

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