Malaria: prevention in travellers

BMJ Clin Evid. 2007 Nov 29;2007:0903.


Introduction: Malaria transmission occurs most frequently in environments with humidity over 60% and ambient temperature of 25-30 degrees C. Risks increase with longer visits and depend on activity. Infection can follow a single mosquito bite. Incubation is usually 10-14 days but can be up to 18 months depending on the strain of parasite.

Methods and outcomes: We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of non-drug preventive interventions in adult travellers? What are the effects of drug prophylaxis in adult travellers? What are the effects of antimalaria vaccines in travellers? What are the effects of antimalaria interventions in child travellers, pregnant travellers, and in airline pilots? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to February 2006 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Results: We found 69 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria.

Conclusions: In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acoustic buzzers, aerosol insecticides, amodiaquine, air conditioning and electric fans, atovaquone-proguanil, biological control measures, chloroquine (alone or with proguanil), diethyltoluamide (DEET), doxycycline, full-length and light-coloured clothing, insecticide-treated clothing/nets, mefloquine, mosquito coils and vaporising mats, primaquine, pyrimethamine-dapsone, pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine, smoke, topical (skin-applied) insect repellents, and vaccines.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Bedding and Linens
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Insect Repellents / therapeutic use
  • Insecticides
  • Malaria* / drug therapy
  • Travel*


  • Antimalarials
  • Insect Repellents
  • Insecticides
  • Chloroquine