Chemoprophylaxis according to the guidelines on malaria prevention for Japanese overseas travelers.Southeast Asian J Trop Med Public Health. 2006; 37 Suppl 3:11-4.SA
Mefloquine has been licensed and registered in Japan for chemoprophylaxis against malaria since 2001. Guidelines for the prevention of malaria for Japanese overseas travelers were published by a group of malaria specialists under the auspices of the Japanese Society of Tropical Medicine and the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare, but not until March 2005. We implemented these guidelines in our clinic at the International Medical Center of Japan in Tokyo and, to better understand whether these guidelines are optimally useful, we conducted a study of Japanese travelers who visited our clinic seeking pertinent information and prophylaxis against malaria. The study group comprised 52 individuals who visited our clinic during the period October 2004 through June 2005 prior to travel abroad. On the basis of the above-mentioned guidelines, mefloquine was given to 27 of these individuals, 22 of whom were judged to need regular chemoprophylaxis. Mefloquine was not recommended to the other 25 individuals because their stays abroad would have been too long to avoid possible side effects or too short for symptoms to appear. In fact, some were traveling to malaria-free areas. Of the 27 individuals given mefloquine, 7 (26%) reported side effects, such as headache, vertigo, and nausea, 17 (63%) reported no side-effects, and the other 3 (11%) were unable to be followed. The diversity of destinations and accompanying malaria risks makes it very difficult for us to administer chemoprophylaxis to overseas travelers appropriately. The guidelines proved to be somewhat useful, but further experience in malaria chemoprophylaxis is needed for physicians to provide reliable pre-travel consultation.