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British Travel Industry Lacks Emphasis on Risk of Malaria

Editorialists urge tour operators and airlines to advise travelers about malaria prevention

FRIDAY, Aug. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Because imported malaria is an increasing problem in the United Kingdom, the British travel industry should do more to inform international travelers about their risk of the disease, according to an editorial published online July 31 in BMJ.

Edward Green, of Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, U.K., and colleagues reviewed travel brochures from 27 British tour operators that advertised vacations to malaria-ridden African countries. They found that only 12 brochures even mentioned the risk of malaria or the advisability of malaria prophylaxis.

The authors also faulted the Association of British Travel Agents for not giving any guidance about malaria to tour operators and the International Air Transport Association for not giving member airlines any recommendations about offering health advice to passengers.

"We believe that the travel industry has an obligation to improve the quantity and quality of malaria advice it provides in its brochures and other promotional publications, with particular emphasis on malaria prevention where appropriate," the authors conclude. "For independent travelers, malaria advice should be provided by the airline -- for example, on the ticket itself. This would help target those traveling on business or visiting friends and family in their country of origin."

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