According to new research* by Lloydspharmacy’s Online Travel Clinic, five star holidaymakers are needlessly risking their lives when visiting malaria hotspots in Africa, Asia and South America.
It is estimated that over 13.5 million** British travellers have stayed in four and five star resorts in malarial countries with over a quarter not protecting themselves against local diseases. In fact over three million Brits did not bother to check to see if the country they were visiting had a malaria risk.
Worryingly 32% of all Brits believe they are less at risk of catching malaria if they stay at a luxury resort. The Lloydspharmacy research also found that only 30% of people who visit malarial countries take anti-malarial medication for the duration of their trip. A substantial proportion also discontinued anti-malarial medication prematurely when they returned home. Recently Cheryl Cole contracted malaria following a trip to Tanzania - although she was reported to have taken anti-malarials during her trip, it is not known whether she continued taking these upon her return.
According to the NHS website approximately 1,500 travellers return to the UK with malaria every year. In 2008, there were 1,370 cases of malaria reported and six deaths in the UK.
“Mosquitoes have no qualms about checking into luxury resorts”, said Clare Kerr, Lloydspharmacy’s Head of Travel Health. “The belief that staying in five star accommodation somehow provides immunity against diseases like malaria is very dangerous.
“Most UK travellers who catch malaria either do not take any anti-malarial treatments or do not get the right pills for the part of the world they’re visiting. It is important to get health advice before going to an area where there is a risk of malaria or other diseases such as diphtheria, typhoid and hepatitis.”
Lloydspharmacy’s Online Travel Clinic aims to make it as convenient as possible for travellers to obtain the malaria pills they need. After a consultation, Lloydspharmacy’s online doctors can provide a private prescription and arrange delivery of the medicines by post.
The new research marks the launch of a partnership between Lloydspharmacy Online Doctor and Oxfam*** which aims to raise money for the charity’s work in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Every purchase of anti-malarial treatments**** this summer triggers a donation of £1 which will help Oxfam tackle the scourge of malaria in DRC where the disease is the believed to be the biggest cause of death.
Before obtaining anti-malarial medication Lloydspharmacy advises that holiday makers visit the fitfortravel website to see whether malaria pills are recommended for where they are travelling.