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Malaria risk set to increase

As holidaymakers look set to travel further afield for bargain trips, the risk of contracting malaria is predicted to increase.

Following the collapse of the pound against the euro, more British tourists are going to malarial countries such as South Africa, Kenya, Thailand and Malaysia.

The danger is also higher among those people who are making eleventh hour bookings without making time for medical advice and vaccinations, according to the Malaria Awareness Campaign.

Frances Tuke, of travel organisation Abta, said: "As money monitoring remains a top priority, travellers are taking advantage of last-minute deals to destinations where they'll get the best value for money, rather than the usual summer holiday in Europe."

Dr George Kassianos, a member of the UK Malaria Guidelines Committee, added: "We know from studies that people who book their trips at the last minute are much less likely to seek travel health advice before they go.

"Deaths can occur within 24 hours of the first symptoms of the most dangerous strain of malaria, so all travellers need to recognise the importance of speaking to their GP, practice nurse or travel clinic before going abroad."

The Health Protection Agency said in 2007 there were 1,548 cases of malaria reported among UK travellers and five of these cases were fatal.

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