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Clinical characteristics of imported malaria in Japan: analysis at a referral hospital.

American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 73(3):599 (2005) PMID 16172489

Imported malaria remains an important problem in Japan. We have reviewed the medical records of 170 cases of malaria in our hospital, which corresponds to 14.9% of the total cases in Japan. The predominant malarial species was Plasmodium falciparum (52.3%), and the most frequent area of acquisition was Africa (54.2%), followed by Asia (20.9%) and Oceania (19.6%). The most common reason for travel among Japanese patients was business. A significant proportion (22.2%) of vivax malaria cases experienced relapse despite standard primaquine therapy. Most primaquine failures were from Oceania. We also found that a substantial number of Japanese patients contracted malaria without chemoprophylaxis and consulted medical facilities with an unfavorably long delay from initial symptoms (median: 3.0 days). Direct education of travelers and travel companies, in addition to health care providers, is likely necessary to improve outcomes of imported malaria.

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