What do Portuguese Travellers Know About Malaria? Pre-Travel Medicine Appointment Evaluation

Joana Cepeda, Paula Milheiro-Oliveira, Cândida Abreu

Abstract


Introduction: The knowledge of transmission, prevention and symptoms of malaria is essential for travellers’ safety. In real life, what do Portuguese travellers know about malaria before a Travel Medicine consultation? How can we, through this consultation, improve their knowledge?

Material and Methods: Before an appointment with a specialist in Travel Medicine, 80 adult travellers filled a questionnaire that included demographic aspects, characteristics of the trip and knowledge about malaria. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics and multifactorial variance analysis.

Results: The travellers’ ages fell in the range 20 - 80 years, 51% were male and 74% of the travellers had a university degree level of education. For 74% of the travellers, this was the first Travel Medicine consultation. Half of the travellers planed trips lasting no more than 14 days, mainly for tourism. The average percentage of correct answers about malaria given by a traveller was 63%. Travellers who had previously attended a Travel Medicine appointment exhibit a statistically significant difference in knowledge comparing to those who attend Travel Medicine appointment for the first time, and this was more evident in the sample composed of travellers without higher education. The clinical manifestations and prevention had the lowest number of correct answers among the travellers.

Discussion: These travellers appear to have good knowledge about malaria but some misconceptions prevail.

Conclusion: The Travel Medicine consultation seems important to raise awareness in the population about malaria, particularly for travellers without higher education. The prevention and the recognition of malaria symptoms must be prioritized during Travel Medicine consultations and the information given adapted to the traveller’s characteristics.


Keywords


Malaria; Portugal; Travel Medicine

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