People going on holiday this summer should always seek medical advice concerning malaria, it has been claimed.

People going on holiday this summer should always seek medical advice concerning malaria, it has been claimed.

Jacqui Jedrzejewski, spokesperson for NHS Direct, said that those heading to destinations where there is a threat of malaria – for example those going on holidays to India – should always visit their GP in order to discuss the most appropriate medication.

“Malaria is a serious illness – particularly for pregnant women – and can result in severe illness or death.

“You should always seek advice before you travel. Some medications need to be started well before your departure date. If medication is recommended for you, remember to take it regularly and exactly as prescribed,” Ms Jedrzejewski advised.

She added that travellers could reduce the risk of contracting malaria by keeping their skin covered, using a mosquito net and applying screens to windows.

The British Medical Journal stated in July 2008 that reported cases of malaria in the UK had steadily increased over the past 20 years. Cases of Plasmodium falciparum – the deadliest malaria parasite – increased from 5,120 between 1987 and 1991 to 6,753 between 2000 and 2006.

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