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CDC, Mass. General study reveals that preventing malaria in travelers to West Africa reduces health costs
Date:9/26/2013

Not only do U.S. travelers to West Africa who consult health providers before they leave and take prescribed preventive medications substantially reduce their risk of contracting malaria, they also reduce costs to their health insurance providers and, in most cases, to themselves. In a report that has been published online in Clinical Infectious Disease, researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) report finding that the costs associated with contracting malaria -- to both third-party payers and to individual travelers -- outweigh the costs of preventive care.

"This analysis confirmed that pretravel health consultations for travelers going to areas where the risk of malaria is equivalent to that of West Africa result in cost-savings," says Edward Ryan, MD, director of the Tropical and Geographic Medicine Center in the MGH Division of Infectious Diseases, a co-author of the report and senior advisor for the research team. "We know from other studies that preventive measures reduce the risk of contracting malaria, so the question we were looking at was whether preventive care for travelers saves money. The answer to the question is a resounding yes for health care insurers and carriers and, in many cases, for travelers themselves."

As part of its mission to prevent and track diseases in the U.S. and around the world, the CDC established the Global Travel Epidemiology Network (GTEN), a national network of travel clinics that collects data from individuals planning to travel internationally. Coordinated from the MGH Division of Infectious Diseases, GTEN now includes 26 clinical sites, 18 of which provided data for the current study. Although the CDC recommends that all international travelers consult with a health provider before their departure, most do not for reasons that can include lack of awareness or concern about health risks and the fact that pretravel appoi
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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