Stand-by emergency treatment (SBET) of malaria in Spanish travellers: a cohort study.Malar J. 2018 Apr 02; 17(1):134.MJ
Among strategies for malaria prevention, stand-by emergency treatment (SBET) is a possible approach, but scarce evidences exists investigating travellers' adherence and behaviours toward its use; therefore, the presented study aimed to determine travellers' compliance toward the SBET when prescribed in travel clinics.
A prospective cohort study was performed at the Travel Health Clinic of the Hospital Universitari de Bellvitge, Barcelona, Spain, during 2017. The research was planned on survey-based design, using pre- and post-travel questionnaires.
In the study period, of 5436 subjects who attended the HUB Travel Medicine Clinic, 145 travellers to malaria-endemic areas were prescribed SBET, and all patients agreed to participate in the study by completing the pre-travel questionnaire. Approximately half the participants were women (n = 75, 51.7%), and the median age of all travellers was 29 years (range 13-57), mainly travelling to South-East Asia (n = 69, 47.6%), with Indonesia and the Philippines as the most popular destinations. The length of travels had a median duration of 29 days (range 10-213). Of the recruited participants, 98 replied to the online post-travel survey, reaching a response rate of 67.6%. A total of 62.2% of travellers to which SBET was prescribed did not buy and carry drugs while travelling abroad. No participants' baseline or travel characteristic was shown to be significantly associated (p > 0.05) with this behaviour. Four women (4.1%) experienced fever and self-administered SBET, without seeking medical attention. No malaria cases were observed.
This cohort study addressed travellers' adherence and behaviour toward SBET, highlighting an incorrect use of the emergency treatment in case of presumptive malaria symptoms. This should be taken into account during pre-travel consultation, since the success of this strategy for malaria prevention depends on travellers' strong adherence to it.