Travellers Should Be Informed About Malaria Risks: Health Experts

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 3 2008 9:35 AM

The travel industry is missing an ideal opportunity to inform travellers about the risk of contracting malaria in specific countries, according to infectious disease experts.

During the study, the researchers reviewed 27 travel brochures from British tour companies and found that only 12 contained any information about malaria, yet they all featured holidays to African countries where the disease is endemic.

According to the researchers, tour operators are really wasting an ideal opportunity, as this would be an ideal place to warn travellers against malaria and the need to take preventative medication.

They have called on the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide guidance on malaria.

Presently, IATA advises member airlines on how to disinfect aircraft to remove insects, but offers no health advice to travellers.

This means that people travelling independently to visit relatives in countries that have malaria may not receive any information about this potentially life-threatening disease.

"We believe that the travel industry has an obligation to improve the quantity and quality of the malaria advice it provides .... [and] for independent travellers, malaria advice should be provided by the airline, for example on the ticket itself," quoted the authors, as saying.

The study is published on today.