Data by the UK Government shows that there were 1,683 cases of imported malaria in the UK in 2018. Cases were reported in England (1,597), Scotland (52), Wales (23) and Northern Ireland (11).

Health Protection Scotland has produced their annual report on Malaria which also shows that there 52 reports of malaria in 2018: a marginal increase from 2017.

Nearly half of all Scottish cases were people who had travelled to Scotland from West Africa (24), particularly Nigeria (18).

A College spokesperson said:

Malaria is a serious tropical disease which can be fatal, and it must be treated rapidly. Spread by mosquitos, symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, muscle pains and diarrhoea. We note that there were 52 reported cases of malaria in Scotland, in 2018.

Malaria now mainly occurs in the tropical and sub-tropical zones. It is absolutely vital that people who have recently travelled back to the UK from Africa, parts of the Middle East, Asia and Central or South America in particular report to their GP, should they experience the aforementioned symptoms.

It is also important to find out whether you could develop malaria before travelling to more at risk parts of the world, so that you can get sound advice on how to reduce the risk of the disease: for example preventing mosquito bites and taking antimalarial medicine for prevention.  

We would recommend that travellers understand the symptoms of malaria as a precaution. Using good quality internet sources such as 'fit for travel', or seeking advice from your GP surgery or some pharmacies is highly recommended.

Paul Gillen

Contact: Paul Gillen 0131 247 3658