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Malaria cases among South Asia travellers up 22%

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Malaria cases among travellers returning from the Indian-subcontinent increased by 22 per cent last year, despite an overall decrease in total Malaria cases.

According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA), there were 1,677 malaria infections reported in 2011 compared to 1,761 in 2010 - a fall of around 5 per cent.

However, cases among those returning from the south Asia jumped from 274 to 334 in the same period. The increase is largely due to a doubling of cases of Plasmodium vivax malaria acquired in Pakistan.

The statistics, released on World Malaria Day, also show that most common type of malaria reported in the UK is the potentially fatal falciparum malaria, which is usually acquired in West Africa.

Dr Jane Jones, head of the HPA's Travel and Migrant Health Section, said: 'These figures indicate that those of African or Asian ethnicity going to visit friends and relatives are at particular risk of acquiring malaria and are still not being reached by health messages about the importance of taking anti-malaria precautions.

'We strongly encourage providers of travel information, including health professionals, travel agents, online booking services and airlines, to engage with these travellers about the possible risks of malaria whenever possible.'

In 2011, eight deaths from malaria were reported, six from falciparum malaria acquired in Africa and two from vivax malaria acquired in India.

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