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

ntments, vaccinations and preventive medications often are not covered by health insurance.

Since malaria prevention would be a major concern for travelers to areas of the world where the mosquito-borne illness is common, the current study used prevention of malaria in travelers to West Africa as a test case to examine the impact of pretravel consultation on health care expenditures. The research team compiled data collected in GTEN clinics from about 1,000 travelers going to countries in West Africa in 2009 and 2010 -- including how long they were traveling, the purpose of their trip and what anti-malarial drugs were prescribed.

This data was used by the CDC researchers -- led by Kenji Adachi, PhD, and Margaret S. Coleman, PhD -- to construct the economic model analyzing the costs and benefits of the pretravel consultation. For travelers, preventive costs included any co-pays for the appointment, time off from work and costs of prescribed medication. These were compared -- from perspectives of both travelers and coverage providers -- with the costs that would be incurred if a traveler contracted malaria, which usually include hospitalization, sometimes in intensive care.

Depending on factors such as the length of a trip -- which affects both the risk of contracting malaria and the costs of preventive medication -- and the costs and effectiveness of the prescribed drugs, the model revealed that, while the costs to payers for preventive services ranged from $161 to $208, the average costs to treat a case of malaria would be more than $25,000. Overall the analysis found that covering preventive services could save payers from $14 to $371 per patient, with greater savings associated with longer visits to malaria-prone areas. For individual travelers, while out-of-pocket costs for prevention averaged around $45, contracting malaria would cost an average of nearly $3,400. Travelers staying less than 9 days, whose risk of contracting m
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Contact: Sue McGreevey
smcgreevey@partners.org
617-724-2764
Massachusetts General Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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