Friday, 25 April 2008 12:00 AM
Health experts have warned that the risk of contracting malaria when visiting exotic destinations remains high.
Figures released today by the Health Protection Agency (HPA) show that although the number of malaria cases among UK travellers has fallen, people should not become complacent.
Professor Peter Chiodini, head of the HPA’s Malaria Reference Laboratory emphasised that it is “really important that anyone travelling to an area where malaria is a risk seeks medical advice before their trip”.
Five UK travellers died from malaria last year out of 1,548 reported cases.
The HPA particularly warned against complacency in people visiting friends and relatives in malarial countries, who accounted for seven in ten malaria cases in 2007.
“It seems likely that [these people] are either not seeking or unable to access good medical advice on preventing malaria before they travel, or they don’t perceive their risk to be as great as the holidaying public,” said Professor Chiodini.
“The common misconception that people born in malaria-affected countries but now living in the UK continue to have a natural immunity to malaria is very dangerous,” he concluded.