I wanted to use this blog entry to discuss one of the more complex components of a travel medicine consultation. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms of malaria fluctuate from mild such as fever, chills, sweats, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting; to severe such as liver failure, sepsis/shock, and even death.
There are areas of the world where Malaria is endemic and the risk of acquiring infection is high. Our focus in travel medicine is to use preventative tools to help minimize this risk to the best of our capabilities. Organizations both domestic and abroad such as the United States Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization use real time surveillance data to determine risks/outbreaks of Malaria in various regions of the world.
There are several ways to attempt to safeguard against a malaria infection. In general – mosquito avoidance is an important first precautionary step (please refer to the blog post on mosquito avoidance for more information). Some areas/trip details with higher risk will additionally require medications to help protect against malaria.
If an individual is traveling abroad they should be aware of their potential for acquiring malaria during the trip. This can be tedious especially in non holo-endemic countries that typically have scattered exposures. I cannot even remember the number of practicing physicians themselves who had issues determining their own malaria exposure risks for their personal travels.
Our proprietary Travel Health Consult software functions to help navigate these complex malaria recommendations effortlessly. Just input simple trip information such as the dates of travel, the destination country, and the localities visited and get up to date travel recommendations on malaria risk along with preventative measures to help safeguard your trip. Travel smart and travel safe everyone!