Responsible Travel and Malaria: Expert Answers to Your Questions

  • Staff of Malaria.com
  • 27 May 2011

In the early days of travel, the roadsides of the world were filled with the graves of unwary voyagers. Some of those deaths were due to accidents or banditry, but the vast majority resulted from illness. Mosquito-borne scourges such as yellow fever and malaria have repeatedly changed the course of global exploration and conquest.

Today, yellow fever can be prevented by vaccination, but there is no such prophylactic against malaria. Malaria kills upward of 800,000 people a year, and there can be as many as 300 million cases at any one time around the world.

Malaria testing, Uganda

Dr Claire Standley, Managing Editor of Malaria.com, and Moses Adriko, a field technician with the Ugandan Ministry of Health's Vector Control Division, provide malaria testing and treatment for school-age children in a community on an island in Lake Victoria. Photo courtesy of Dr C. Standley

Of concern to travellers, particularly adventurous ones who desire to venture ‘off the grid’ is the prevalence of malaria in many of the countries they visit. Recently, global unrest has adversely impacted the public health of some nations previously considered ‘safe’ for Westerners on the move.

Malaria is on the rise. Travel and malaria is an issue of great concern.

But you can still travel safely and enjoy the mystery and beauty of the world. Responsible travellers are cautious and prepared travellers, those who carefully research the health risks they might encounter before they venture off their front porches and into the world’s embrace.

A Big Ounce of Prevention

Malaria.com exists for these responsible travellers. It is a one-stop interactive resource dedicated to serving not just as a malaria information clearinghouse, but as a trusted resource for questions from you. An ounce of prevention, your grandmother probably told you, is worth a pound of cure. Malaria.com provides that ounce.

Homepage, Malaria.com

The homepage of Malaria.com

Malaria.com combines the latest information from Malaria.com’s own editors and researchers, with the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of Health and the World Health Organization.

For starters, on Malaria.com you’ll find the basics: a map of malarial areas; details about the symptoms and causes of the malaria; and hints about ways to prevent malaria, including drugs and strategies to protect you from becoming infected. In addition, Malaria.com is a place where readers (and researchers) can exchange ideas, research and travel stories.

Expert Advice

Malaria.com is not a substitute for your regular physician. In Malaria.com’s Malaria Q&A section, however, our experts are ready to reply to your questions and help guide even the most seasoned traveller through the maze of sometimes conflicting and confusing information currently available about the disease. For instance, after recent emails from readers questioning whether or not they should try homeopathic remedies in known malarial areas, our editors quickly reviewed the literature, spoke with their colleagues and responded with an emphatic ”no.”

Health facility, Ethiopia

Malaria.com offers information and advice, the latter via a Q&A forum, on malaria prevention and treatment, both for travellers to malarial zones and people living in endemic areas. Two pregnant women, above, show their bed nets used for preventing malaria at a health facility in Ethiopia. Photo courtesy of Dr L. Pearson

In time we’ll provide a complete checklist for the savvy traveller – everything to pack from country-specific preventive drugs and mosquito repellents to lightweight clothing (treated), mosquito nets (treated) and suggestions for freestanding lightweight tents (to be treated) that can be erected where bed nets aren’t practical.

Whether it’s choosing medications, understanding the disease or simply asking questions of our staff or other travellers, Malaria.com is for you.

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Malaria.com provides malaria information, research and news, as well as community tools to facilitate networking and the sharing of malaria-related information. It brings together researchers, field practitioners, travelers, journalists and the public to create a comprehensive yet dynamic source of malaria information with the goal of tackling the problem of malaria infection throughout the world.
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