Presented in part at the third Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine, Hamburg, Germany, May 26 to 29, 2010 (oral communication), at the sixth European Congress on Tropical Medicine and International Health, Verona, Italy, September 6 to 10, 2009 (poster), and at the European Scientific Conference on Applied Infectious Disease Epidemiology (ESCAIDE), Stockholm, Sweden, October 26 to 28, 2009 (poster).
Imported Malaria in Finland 1995 to 2008: An Overview of Surveillance, Travel Trends, and Antimalarial Drug Sales
Article first published online: 2 NOV 2010
© 2010 International Society of Travel Medicine
Journal of Travel Medicine
Volume 17, Issue 6, pages 400–404, November/December 2010
How to Cite
Guedes, S., Siikamäki, H., Kantele, A. and Lyytikäinen, O. (2010), Imported Malaria in Finland 1995 to 2008: An Overview of Surveillance, Travel Trends, and Antimalarial Drug Sales. Journal of Travel Medicine, 17: 400–404. doi: 10.1111/j.1708-8305.2010.00456.x
- Issue published online: 2 NOV 2010
- Article first published online: 2 NOV 2010
Background. To improve pre-travel advice, we analyzed nationwide population-based surveillance data on malaria cases reported to the National Infectious Disease Register of Finland (population 5.3 million) during 1995 to 2008 and related it to data on traveling and antimalarial drug sales.
Methods. Surveillance data comprised information on malaria cases reported to the National Infectious Disease Register during 1995 to 2008. Traveling data were obtained from Statistics Finland (SF) and the Association of Finnish Travel Agents (AFTA). SF data included information on overnight leisure trips to malaria-endemic countries during 2000 to 2008. AFTA data included annual number of organized trips during 1999 to 2007. Quarterly numbers of antimalarial drug sales were obtained from the Finnish Medicines Agency. Descriptive and time series analyses were performed.
Results. A total of 484 malaria cases (average annual incidence 0.7/100,000 population) were reported; 283 patients were Finnish- and 201 foreign-born. In all, 15% of all cases were children; 72% foreign- and 28% Finnish-born. Malaria infections were mostly acquired in Africa (76%). Among foreign-born cases, 89% of the infections were acquired in the region of birth. The most common species were Plasmodium falciparum (61%) and Plasmodium vivax (22%). Although traveling to malaria-endemic areas increased, no increase occurred in malaria cases, and a decreasing trend was present in antimalarial drug sales. Traveling to malaria-endemic countries and drug sales followed the same seasonal pattern, with peaks in the first and last quarter of the year.
Conclusions. More efforts should be focused on disseminating pre-travel advice to immigrants planning to visit friends and relatives and travelers on self-organized trips.