UK travellers urged to swat up on malaria prevention
British holidaymakers are being urged to take malaria prevention seriously as the latest figures from the Health Protection Agency (HPA) indicate a slight increase (9%) in cases of the disease reported in UK travellers between 2008 and 2009.
Professor Larry Goodyer, Chair of the education subcommittee of the British Travel Health Association (BTHA) and a spokesperson for the Malaria Awareness Campaign says: "The UK is one of the biggest importers of malaria in Europe and these figures highlight the need for British travellers to be aware of the simple steps they need to take to protect themselves."
Coinciding with Malaria Awareness Week (10–16 May) the Malaria Awareness Campaign - organised and funded by GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health - has launched an initiative with naturalist Steve Backshall to show people how to correctly apply insect repellent and prevent mosquito bites – the first line of defence in malaria prevention.
The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QJMyboaspQ and is ideal for nurses to refer travellers to after their consultation – making the most of the short time they have with patients to focus on other aspects of malaria prevention.
Steve, who has contracted malaria, is urging everyone to be more "malaria aware". He says: "It's easy to relax and take a carefree attitude when you're on holiday, but it is extremely important to take malaria prevention seriously. It only takes one bite to contract malaria and I know from personal experience how terrible the disease can be."
Professor Goodyer says: "Many people are unaware of the correct quantity of insect repellent to use or how to apply it correctly. I'd advise all UK travellers to give Steve's how-to film a couple of minutes of their attention as it could save their life."