Package Holidays Bring Increase in Malaria Cases

The Birmingham Post (England), May 23, 2002 | Go to article overview

Package Holidays Bring Increase in Malaria Cases


Byline: Jenny Hudson Health Correspondent

Cases of malaria are growing as package holidays to Africa become increasingly popular, doctors have warned.

Every fortnight, a new patient with the disease is referred for treatment to the Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine in Heartlands Hospital in Birmingham.

Three out of every four patients with malaria develop the most serious strain, known as falciparum, which can be life-threatening.

Doctors are calling for people to ensure they have anti-malarial drugs before they travel to high risk areas, such as the Gambia, Kenya and parts of South Africa.

Malaria is caught by a bite from an infected mosquito and symptoms include fever, muscle stiffness, shaking and sweating.

Dr Christopher Ellis, a consultant physician at the Department of Infection and Tropical Medicine, said: 'We see tourists who have gone to certain parts of Africa, such as the Gambia, the Kenyan coast and parts of South Africa around the Kruger National Park and the Victoria Falls.

'We also now see soldiers who have been stationed in Sierra Leone and also people of African origin who tend to come from Nigeria and Ghana.

'Provided people do follow medical advice, there is no reason why anybody should die from malaria. Most people become ill within a month of returning home, or within three months at the most.

'Places like the Gambia and Kenya are very popular holiday destinations and the numbers going there are soaring. …

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