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      Travellers with higher malaria risk

      Latest update: - Authors: Nele Alders, Ula Maniewski

      Travellers at higher risk

      Travellers with a higher risk of contracting malaria are those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the evening and at night, for example during a hike, or travellers who stay in rural non-touristic regions.

      People with a higher risk for developing severe malaria complications are:

      • children younger than 12 years
      • people older than 70 years
      • pregnant women
      • people with an immune disorder, such as a condition affecting the spleen
      • people in poor general health

      Travelers visiting friend and family (VFR) often underestimate the malaria risk. Previously built up immunity weans six months to several years after leaving the endemic area. Improving awareness in this specific population regarding this risk is important. 

      Preventive measures

      Travellers at risk for malaria should be advised on:

      • Mosquito bite prevention: which consists of a combination of mosquito-repellent measures especially from dusk through to sunrise. These measures are also necessary when taking chemoprophylaxis, as the tablets never guarantee 100% protection.
      • Chemoprophylaxis: whether this should be added to the other preventive measures depends on how high the risk is:
        • Low risk area (pink areas): Chemoprophylaxis is not needed.
        • Moderate risk area (orange areas): Usually mosquito bite prevention and awareness are recommended. In case of higher risk of contracting malaria or severe complications, or when mosquito bite prevention is not possible, chemoprophylaxis is recommended.
        • Seasonal risk (purple areas): Chemoprophylaxis is indicated during the rainy season, but not during dry season.
        • High risk (red areas): Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for all.
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