UK Cases of Malaria Rise 30% in 2 Years
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported new figures on World Malaria Day that show the number of cases of the disease among residents in Britain has risen by nearly 30% in the last 2 years. Most of the cases reported over the last 10 years have flared up in travellers who visited South Asia or West Africa.
In 2008, there were 1,370 cases of malaria reported, but this number rose to 1,495 in 2009 and then again to 1,761 last year. Nearly 40% of the new cases in 2010 occurred among UK residents that had been to either Ghana or Nigeria, while 11% had travelled to India.
The HPA is advising anyone who travels on how to avoid getting malaria, which is the second biggest killer in the world. They believe that travellers may not get or are unable to get advice about preventing malaria, or they think they aren’t at risk because they know the area they are planning to visit. It’s these travellers that are more at risk, as they tend to stay in their destination longer or they stay with family and friends, which puts them at the same risk as locals of contracting the infectious disease.
HPA malaria reference laboratory head Professor Peter Chiodini says the figures are a reminder that travellers need to take precautions against malaria. Anybody that travels to a country where the disease is present should take proper medication, including those who are visiting where they were born, grew up or have visited before, as they aren’t immune, he added.
Travel and migrant health section head Dr Jane Jones says that, even though this disease is potentially deadly, it’s also very preventable. Anyone planning to travel to a tropical destination should get health advice before their trip. People who get malaria aren’t immune and can contract it again, so all travellers should take anti-mosquito medication and other precautions, she added.