Press Releases

Preparedness Key to Mitigating Malaria Risks

  • Each year, up to 30,000 travellers contract malaria.1
  • Growth in international travel and lapses in precautions among overseas travellers likely cause of increase.
  • Majority of travellers report they don’t research diseases prior to travel.2
  • International SOS data shows a correlation between calls for information about malaria and reduced hospital admissions, hospital stays and evacuations related to malaria.3

Countries are reporting a rise in imported malaria cases and travellers are reminded about the importance of taking appropriate precautions and implementing prevention tactics when travelling to malaria endemic areas.

New data indicates a correlation between malaria education and the number of malaria in-patient, out-patient, and evacuation assistance services required by international travellers.

International SOS, a medical and travel security risk services company, analysed the requests for assistance they received regarding malaria over a four-year period (2012-2015). The more calls for advice and information received; the less cases of people needing malaria treatment and assistance. Malaria in-patient and evacuation cases spiked when there were fewer calls for information about malaria.

Dr Irene Lai, Medical Director at International SOS, explains:

“Travelling abroad has become very common for some – and, the more the novelty wears off, so does the time and effort in pre-travel preparation. Unfortunately for the global traveller, neglecting the research and preparation for health-related matters can end up with serious consequences.”

A recent global study found that only 36% of Indian travellers research diseases prior to going abroad.2

Dr Lai commented:

“The data shows that lack of pre-travel preparation is the norm, indicating travellers are complacent about risks. It is imperative for travellers to know the symptoms of malaria and seek immediate medical attention if they develop – even if they believe they have taken all the right preventive actions. We still see travellers dying from malaria and these deaths may have been preventable.”

The most effective way for travellers to reduce the likelihood of contracting malaria is to understand the risks at their destination, prevent mosquito bites, and use preventive medication if prescribed.

In addition to the well-being of travellers and staff, organisations can financially benefit from malaria prevention programmes. Return on Prevention, a paper published by research and consultancy firm Prevent, determined a return of $1.32 for each $1 invested in an employee malaria prevention programme.4

Travellers are encouraged to speak with a travel health professional prior to travelling to malaria endemic areas. Free educational materials are available to the public at

International SOS provides education and malaria prevention services to organisations and their travelling employees. Pre-travel health advice is included in International SOS membership.

About International SOS

International SOS is the world’s leading medical and travel security risk services company. We care for clients across the globe, from more than 850 locations in 92 countries.

Our expertise is unique: More than 11,000 employees are led by 1,400 doctors and 200 security specialists. Teams work night and day to protect our members.

We pioneer a range of preventive programmes strengthened by our in-country expertise. We deliver unrivalled emergency assistance during critical illness, accident or civil unrest.

We are passionate about helping clients put Duty of Care into practice. With us, multinational corporate clients, governments and NGOs can mitigate risks for their people working remotely or overseas.

Notes for Editors:

  1. United Against Malaria.
  2. International Travel: Risks and Reality 2015, an Ipsos Global advisor research study.
  3. International SOS case data. 2012-2015.
  4. “Return on Prevention,” Prevent, March 2015. Download here.

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