12 Jun 2015

Imported malaria: UK

Malaria imported into the United Kingdom: 2014

Public Health England (PHE) has published details of malaria cases imported into the United Kingdom (UK) in 2014. These figures are mostly based on cases reported to PHE Malaria Reference Laboratory (MRL) [1].

There were 1,586 cases of malaria reported in the UK in 2014 (1,475 in England, 76 in Scotland, 33 in Wales and two in Northern Ireland). This is just slightly below the mean number of cases reported each year between 2004 and 2013 (1,590).  The total number of cases reported in 2014 is 5.7% higher than the total number reported in 2013 (1,501) [1].

The majority of cases (73.7%) were caused by the potentially life-threatening Plasmodium falciparum malaria. In 2014 there were three deaths from malaria reported in the UK.

The full report, Malaria imported into the United Kingdom: 2014 Implications for those advising travellers is available from PHE.

Advice for travellers

Malaria is an almost completely preventable but potentially fatal disease. The majority of cases of malaria in UK travellers occur in those who have not accessed or received advice on its prevention or have not adhered to the advice given.

You should seek advice about the risk of malaria at your destination before you travel, take the appropriate malaria prophylaxis (if recommended), and take measures to protect against night-time biting mosquitoes.

If travelling to malaria risk areas, you should seek urgent medical advice for any symptoms, especially fever, during your trip or in the year following your return home, including a same day result malaria blood test.

Advice on the malaria risk in specific countries can be found on the Country Information pages or in the Public Health England Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention guidelines.

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