Over just the last two years the number of malaria infections has increased by over 30% in UK residents. In 2010 there were more than 1,700 new cases per figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The majority of the cases are among those that have visited in the past decade South Asia and West Africa.
Malaria is the world’s second largest killer and the HPA is warning travelers to take their advice as to how to avoid the sickness. Each year since 2008 the numbers have increased and in 2010 alone, more than 40% UK residents that had contracted the disease had visited Ghana or Nigeria and 11% had been to India.
The HPA believes that the travellers may have thought they knew the area they were travelling to and did not think they were in risk or that the did not seek or were unable to get access to advise about the prevention of malaria.
Also, it is these types of travellers, because they tend to stay for longer periods of time that are more prone to contract the disease. And because they usually stay with family and friends than hotels or resorts they are exposed to the same risks that local people are exposed to.
Travellers need to take precautions before arriving. They need to get advice and take medication before they travel. Even those that have live in the UK and are just visiting family where they grew are not going to be immune to the disease. There are some that believe that once you have contracted the disease once you cannot contract it again and this is a fallacy.
In Africa alone it accounted for more that 20% of the childhood death and continues to be a very devastating disease in developing countries with only tuberculosis killing more people worldwide.
The spread of malaria is through mosquitoes in tropical areas and it cannot be transmitted for person to person. Symptoms are fever, headache, muscle aches, vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea. Medical experts are quick to point out that malaria is a very deadly disease but it is also very preventable.