Skip to content
27 September 2021

Travel and malaria: Why we ask the questions we do

Share

Every time you come to give blood we ask about your travel history. This is because the places you’ve lived, travelled and worked can play a big part in the illnesses you’re exposed to – particularly malaria.

Malaria is a blood borne virus. This is why we are so strict with the precautions we take to find out where and when donors have visited malarial zones.

No-one has travelled much over the last year or so, but restrictions are now beginning to lift, and people are keen to go on holiday, see family abroad, and return to work projects in foreign countries.

That’s why we thought it was a good time to run through what’s important about your travel history, and why. If you’ve got the time now, why not take a note of your travel dates for future reference? We are currently working on an IT solution to help you with this, but in the meantime if you have a smartphone, you could store them on an app such as Evernote, Microsoft OneNote, Apple Notes, Google Keep or similar.

If possible, keep a note of your travel history in a handy place.

Depending on the places you’ve lived or stayed, a number of different eligibility criteria may apply. However, the main ones currently relating to malaria are listed below.

Birthplace and residences

Where you were born

  • Were you born in a malarial area and live there for at least six months?
  • Has it been at least four months since you were last in a malarial area?

Places you’ve lived

  • Have you ever lived in a malarial area for six months or more, eg while working or studying?
  • Has it been at least four months since you were last in a malarial area?

In each case, if you answer ‘yes’ to both, we’d like to ask you to come in and give us a blood sample. If your sample tests negative for malarial antibodies, we’ll invite you to give blood at a later date.

You won’t currently be eligible to donate (even just to give a sample) if fewer than four months have passed since you left a malarial area.

Holidays and travel

Places you’ve visited

  • Have you been to a malarial area in the last twelve months (holidays and/or business)?
  • Is it between four and twelve months since you were last in a malarial area?

If you answer ‘yes’ to both, we’d like to ask you to come in and give us a blood sample. If your sample tests negative for malarial antibodies, we’ll invite you to give blood at a later date.

You won’t currently be eligible to donate (even just to give a sample) if fewer than four months have passed since you left a malarial area.

However, if twelve or more months have passed since you were last in a malarial area, you can give blood (as long as you meet all other eligibility criteria)

Previous malaria / unexplained fever

You’ve had malaria before

  • Has it been at least three years since you were treated for malaria and the symptoms ended?
  • Has it been at least four months since you were last in a malarial area?

You’ve had unexplained fever before

  • Have you ever had unexplained fever while in a malarial area?
  • Has it been at least four months since you were last in a malarial area?

In each case, if you answer ‘yes’ to both, we’d like to ask you to come in and give us a blood sample. If your sample tests negative for malarial antibodies, we’ll invite you to give blood at a later date.

The information we ask for is very important for patient safety, so please let us know this, even if it was only once, or a long time ago. We will need to ask this information at each and every time you come to donate, and sometimes location eligibility can change retrospectively.

If your story fits with any of the scenarios listed above, please come along to have your samples taken and come back to give blood when you receive your negative test results.

  • You can make an appointment to give a blood sample by phoning 0345 90 90 999 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm), or contacting us online
  • NOTE: Please do not book an appointment via the online donor account to give a malaria test sample
  • Find out more about malarial areas at Fit For Travel

 

Current blood stock levels across Scotland Wednesday 20 October

We aim to retain 6 days of stocks at any time in order to meet the requirements of patients in Scotland.

Learn more about blood types