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Britons lack knowledge over malaria

Nearly two in three Britons are unaware of the symptoms of malaria, according to a new survey.

And nearly one in four wrongly believe the killer disease is contracted by drinking infected water.

Also, only 10% are aware that malaria symptoms can appear more than six months after a traveller returns home.

The figures, in a survey for GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health, have been released to launch Malaria Awareness Week.

The survey also shows that 5% of people think drinking gin and tonic will ward off malaria.

The findings come on the back of statistics from the Health Protection Agency, which has warned of a greater risk to UK travellers following a sharp rise in cases caused by the most deadly form of malaria - Plasmodium falciparum.

Specialist travel health nurse Jane Chiodini said: "Last year 1,758 UK travellers contracted malaria and eight of them died. The rise in cases of falciparum malaria coupled with ignorance about the disease is a potentially fatal cocktail that needs to be urgently addressed."

GlaxoSmithKline Travel Health