Experts call on travel industry to take malaria seriously

Tour operators and airlines have come under fire for not warning travellers about the risk of contracting malaria abroad.

Infectious disease experts writing in the British Medical Journal have said the travel industry should be doing more to educate travellers about malaria and the need to take preventative medication.

The authors reviewed 27 travel brochures from British tour companies and found that only 12 contained any information about malaria, yet they all featured holidays to African countries where the disease is endemic.

The authors, who are from the department of infectious diseases at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield, call on ABTA and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to provide guidance on malaria.

Currently IATA advises member airlines on how to disinfect aircraft to remove insects, but offers no health advice to travellers.

The letter said: “We believe that the travel industry has an obligation to improve the quantity and quality of the malaria advice it provides in its brochures and other promotional publications, …. [and] for independent travellers, malaria advice should be provided by the airline, for example on the ticket itself.”

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