Malaria prevention in the older traveller: a systematic review.J Travel Med. 2019 Oct 14; 26(7)JT
Older travellers are at higher risk of malaria-related morbidity and mortality compared with younger people. Yet, prevention of malaria in this specific group of travellers is a long-standing issue in travel medicine. The aim of this research was to synthetize the existing evidence about this important topic, highlighting older travellers' attitudes and practises toward malaria prevention. Searches were performed on PubMed, Embase, EuropePMC, Web of Science, WHOLIS and LILACS databases for relevant studies reporting malaria prevention measures in older travellers. To measure malaria prevention in the older traveller population, the main information outcomes were obtained from the ABCD framework that included travellers' 'Awareness' towards pre-travel health advice, their utilisation of 'Bite-prevention measures' and adherence to 'Chemoprophylaxis'. Data on 'Diagnosis'-related outcomes were excluded for not being measures of malaria prevention. Three evaluators independently selected studies, extracted data and assessed the quality of the included articles. The research protocol was registered with PROSPERO (protocol number CRD42019124202). Out of the 899 titles and abstracts screened, 13 articles were included in this review synthesis. These studies included a wide range of interventions for malaria prevention: no relevant differences in pre-travel healthcare attendance were found depending on age; older travellers were found to be less likely to comply with bite-prevention measures; three high-quality studies reported that adherence to chemoprophylaxis significantly increased with age, while three studies did not find age-related differences in travellers' adherence. Overall, prevention of malaria in the older traveller has received limited attention from the scientific community. Older travellers seem to be less likely to comply with bite-prevention measures, but there was high heterogeneity across the reports. This population group demands particular attention and tailored health advice before travelling to malaria endemic areas. More research is required on how to improve malaria prevention in the older traveller.