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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 10  |  Page : 3318-3324

Preparedness against self-infection and importation of Malaria - An airport survey among Saudis traveling to endemic countries

1 Saudi Board of Family Medicine (Joint Program), Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
2 Saudi Board of Preventive Medicine (Joint Program) and Ministry of Health, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
3 College of Medicine, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
4 College of Medicine, Dar-Aluloom University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5 Family Medicine Academy, King Saud Medical City, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Rizwan Suliankatchi Abdulkader
Saudi Board of Preventive Medicine (Joint Program) and Ministry of Health, Riyadh
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_649_19

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Background: Infected travelers returning from malaria endemic countries pose the threat of local outbreaks in nonendemic countries. Such outbreaks are becoming potential public health threats with increasing volume of international travels. Aims: This study aimed to assess the knowledge, attitude, and practices toward malaria, its prevention and treatment among Saudi air travelers visiting malaria-endemic countries. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted among Saudi passengers who were waiting at the departure gates of the King Khalid International Airport, Riyadh to travel to five chosen malaria-endemic countries. Knowledge, attitude, practice, and health-seeking behavior for malaria were assessed using a self-administered questionnaire. Factors associated with favorable responses were identified by statistical tests. Results: Among 531 travelers, adequate knowledge, favorable attitude, and healthy practices pertaining to malaria were present in 42.7%, 80.2%, and 55.7%, respectively. Traveling to India, age >=30 years, tourists and traveling businessmen, previous visit to same country or region, seeking malaria-specific advice were significantly associated with adequate knowledge. Only 11.3% had sought pretravel health advice on malaria. Lack of knowledge about the existence and importance of pretravel consultation was the common reason for not seeking advice. Conclusion: Knowledge about malaria and practice of preventive measures were suboptimal among Saudi travelers. Public awareness about travel consultation and chemoprophylaxis should be a part of malaria elimination and prevention efforts. Primary care physicians should take into account the level of knowledge among prospective travelers and provide opportunistic travel health services or refer them appropriately.

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