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Background: Malaria, in particular Falciparum malaria, continues to pose a substantial risk to travelers to endemic areas.

Methods: In this study we examined 93 case notes of patients with malaria treated in our department between 1990 and 1996.

Results: Forty-seven (50.5%) patients had infection with Plasmodium falciparum, 41 (44.1%) had Plasmodium vivax and 5 (5.4%) had Plasmodium ovale. One of these patients had a dual infection with P. falciparum and P. vivax. None of our patients had Plasmodium malariae. Forty-four of the P. falciparum cases (93.6%) were imported from sub-Saharan Africa, 33 of the P. vivax cases (78.5%) were imported from the Indian subcontinent. All the P. ovale cases were imported from sub-Saharan Africa. Fifty-four of our patients (58.1%) did not take any form of chemoprophylaxis. Forty-two out of 93 (45.2%) of the “travelers” were settled immigrants in the UK. Seventy-eight percent of travelers of British caucasian origin took prophylaxis whereas only 13.5% of travelers of ethnic minorities origin took prophylaxis.

Conclusions: Greater awareness of the risk of malaria by travelers and medical practitioners in UK must be encouraged and in particular appropriate chemoprophylaxis instituted for travelers to chloroquine-resistant areas.