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U.S. traveler malaria death preventable

Posted - Oct. 5, 2004 at 6:20 a.m.



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ATLANTA, Oct 04, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found most malaria deaths among U.S. travelers from 1963 to 2001 were preventable.

CDC researchers reviewed records of U.S. travelers who died of malaria between 1963 and 2001 and found of the 123 deaths -- 85 percent were considered preventable.

For 83 of the malaria deaths, the patient's actions may have contributed to death by not taking preventive medicines; by not following instructions on how to take the medications, or not seeking medical attention promptly (within two days) when symptoms occurred.

For 70 of the 105 deaths, medical errors may have contributed to the deaths because: clinicians did not prescribe the correct preventive medicines; clinicians did not diagnose malaria when the patient first reported symptoms; clinicians did not begin treatment after diagnosis, or clinicians did not treat the patient with the appropriate anti-malarial drug.

"Health care providers need to know that the CDC has expanded resources available that provide critical up-to-date information regarding prevention and treatment of malaria," said study author Dr. Robert D. Newman.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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