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Understanding the occupational traveller profile towards malaria prevention enables directed health promotion and preventive practices

Ana Gloria Fonseca, Susana Carvalho, Sara Simões Dias, Joao Luis Baptista, Jorge Torgal.

Abstract
Aim/background: Increased migration and expatriation to malaria endemic countries has been appointed as contributing factor to the increasing imported malaria hospitalizations recently observed in Portugal. This study sought to profile this traveller and understand the knowledge, attitude and practice (KAP) towards malaria prevention as necessary first step to improve and suit risk reduction strategies.

Methods: A cross sectional questionnaire based study was conducted at the Lisbon International Airport aiming to characterize the Portuguese occupational traveller to Angola. Travel and travellers’ characteristics associated to not seeking travel health advice and KAP towards malaria were specifically studied.

Results: Occupational travellers represented 92,6% (n= 374/404) of the Portuguese travellers to Angola that participated in the survey. The profile found was that of an occupational traveller experienced in developing destinations to urban settings for long periods. The knowledge regarding malaria risk and prevention was good but the same was not observed for preventive practices. Those with chronic health conditions and those living in Angola or both in Portugal and Angola tend not to seek pre-travel medical advice and to be at higher malaria risk, considering their KAP towards malaria.

Conclusions: Increasing watchfulness concerning occupational travellers and expatriates need to be in the public health agenda and suited interventions are needed.

Key words: Malaria; Occupational Traveller; Angola; Knowledge, Attitude, Practice


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