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Background. Despite significant morbidity and mortality among business travelers due to malaria, very little has been published on knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) toward malaria risk. The aim of this study was to assess KAP among frequent international business travelers (FBT) and to identify recommendations for improving malaria prevention that could be applied to the wider FBT community in occupational health.

Methods. A retrospective web-based survey was conducted in 2005 among self-registered FBT of an oil and gas company based in the Netherlands.

Results. The survey was completed by 328 of the 608 self-registered FBT (54%). Fifty-four percent of respondents had visited a high-risk area for malaria. Most respondents (96%) were experienced travelers; the majority (71%) sought health advice before their trip and made use of a company health resource. Fever was recognized as a malaria symptom by all FBT; travel to high-risk malaria areas was correctly identified by 96%, and 99% of these travelers adhered to use of adequate personal protective measures. The proportion of travelers carrying appropriate anti-malaria drug regimen was positively associated with receiving company advice among FBT traveling to high-risk destinations (RR = 2.10, 95% CI: 1.21–3.67), but not for those traveling to low- or no-risk destinations. Only 8% (14) of those going to a high-risk area were not carrying malaria prophylaxis. One in five of FBT traveling to no-risk areas were unnecessarily carrying malaria prophylaxis.

Conclusions. The majority of KAP results were excellent. We postulate that a company culture with a strong focus on health, safety, security, and environment can positively contribute to high KAP scores. Notwithstanding the excellent findings, this study also provides a cautionary tale for company health functions against overprescribing of malaria prophylaxis. It demonstrates the need for constant review and audit of adherence to quality criteria.