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DHSS urges winter sun seekers to take antimalarial tablets and beat the mosquitoes at their own game 15 December 2005

    The DHSS is urging all those travelling to far away destinations, to take proper medical precautions, especially against Malaria. This follows a report from the UK of six cases of falciparum Malaria – two of the individuals who died were travellers returning to the UK from Gambia.

    Malaria is a very serious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. There are different species of Plasmodium and falciparum malaria is the most serious. Malaria is endemic in many parts of the world and certain parts of the world (such as West Africa) are high risk areas.

    Adequate protection against Malaria is essential for anyone travelling to areas such as Gambia. Antimalarial medications must be take prior to travel, while abroad and for a short period after your return. In addition, simple measures to avoid mosquito bites, such as wearing insect repellent and cover-up clothing and sleeping under an insecticide treated net are also highly effective and add to the protection offered by antimalarial tablets.

    Additional advice to travellers:

    • Please seek advice re health risks
    • Ensure that you and your family are fully protected against the risks
    • Ensure that you fully understand and follow the regime to protect yourself and your family against Malaria

    Advice to those who have recently returned from Gambia (and West Africa):

    • If you experience any flu-like illness, please seek medical advice without any delay
    • If you have not taken any malarial tablets, please make sure to mention this to your doctor

    15th December 2005

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