Preventing malaria in UK travellers
Guidelines stress the need for compliance with prophylaxis and standby medication, says Jane N Zuckerman
The advisory committee on malaria prevention for UK travellers has updated the guidance for healthcare professionals who advise travellers.1 Noteworthy changes have been made in the advice from the guidelines produced previously. The new guidance places greater emphasis on the use of certain malaria chemoprophylaxis and has important changes regarding emergency standby medication.
Worldwide, over 40% of the population live in malarious areas with an estimated 300-500 million cases of malaria occurring each year resulting in up to two million deaths.2 Importantly malaria is one of the most common causes of serious illness in the returning traveller. At least 2000 cases (10 000 in Europe3) are imported into the United Kingdom each year, and nine of these on average result in death. The proportion of cases due to Plasmodium falciparum has continued to rise, accounting for more than half of the cases.14
Low price travel has led to increasing numbers