UK residents traveling abroad have recorded a 30 per cent increase in malaria cases over the past two years, according to the latest statistics from the Health Protection Agency (HPA).
A total of 1,761 cases were reported by British travellers while overseas in 2010, compared to 1,370 new cases in 2088 and 1,495 a year later in 2009.
The majority of these infected with malaria – which is now considered the second biggest killer worldwide – were visiting West Africa or South Asia.
Nigeria and Ghana alone were responsible for 40 per cent of all cases, while India accounted for a ten of suffers in 2010.
“Anyone who is travelling to a country where malaria is present should take travel advice and appropriate medication,” said professor Peter Chiodini, who heads the HPA’s malaria reference laboratory.
“Even people living in Britain visiting the country in which they were born or grew up, or have previously visited, are not immune from malaria and should take precautions.”
Second biggest killer
Mr Chiodini was speaking earlier at the beginning of the fourth World Malaria Day.
Dr Jane Jones, head of the HPA’s travel and migrant health section, added while malaria is a potentially deadly disease, it is also one that is almost completely preventable.
“Anyone who is planning to travel to a tropical destination should always seek advice from their GP or travel health clinic before their trip.
“It is a myth that people who have had malaria will not get it again.
“Our advice is the same for all travellers - you must take anti-mosquito precautions and medication to keep safe.”
Only tuberculosis kills more people worldwide.