London, 26 May 2011: Malaria Consortium is backing a new initiative by Lloydspharmacy to raise awareness of the importance of protecting against malaria when travelling to malaria endemic countries by significantly reducing the cost of the most commonly prescribed anti-malaria drug.
There are currently over 100 malaria endemic areas, which are visited by more than 125 million international travellers every year. Travellers are particularly susceptible to malaria as they often come from non malarious regions and have not developed any immunity to the disease; over the past two years there has been a 30% increase in malaria cases in the UK according to the Health Protection Agency.
“Travelling abroad, whether to visit family and friends or for a holiday, should not only be fun but safe,” said Malaria Consortium Senior Technical Officer, Dr Prudence Hamade. “If anyone is travelling to a country where malaria is prevalent, they should take action to protect themselves from this deadly disease – starting before they go. There is no doubt that taking preventative anti-malarial medication forms an essential element of that protection, alongside the use of insecticide treated nets and insect repellent.
“If some travellers choose not to take preventive medication because of the cost, then it is a very dangerous gamble,” Dr Hamade added. “Malaria can and does kill. All people travelling to malarious countries are at risk of infection. Particular groups at high risk include students travelling on a gap year and other travellers who stay for prolonged periods, as well as those people who return to visit friends or relatives in endemic countries.”
For more information on how to protect yourself from malaria when travelling, please read our Malaria Factsheet. The factsheet also contains information on warning signs of malaria and provides advice on what travellers should do if they show any of these symptoms while still abroad or upon their return
For more information, please conact Diana Thomas, [email protected]