Should you take Malaria precautions when travelling abroad?

Malaria is the world’s second biggest killer and cases among UK travellers have risen by 30% over the past two years. The Health Protection Agency has revealed that in 2010 there were 1,761 new cases, mainly occurring in travellers who had visited West Africa or South Asia.

The results were released on 25th April, World Malaria Day 2011 and are there to encourage people to think about the risks they are putting themselves at when they visit these tropical destinations.

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and can not be transmitted person to person. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, tiredness and those that are associated with the flu. Malaria is potentially a deadly disease but it is one that is preventable if certain measures are taken.

It is recommended to anyone travelling to a tropical destination to take advice from their GP or travel health clinic before their trip. Even those who have had the disease before can still catch it. Some travellers believe they ‘know’ the area they are going to so do not need to take precaution but they appear more at risk because they tend to stay longer usually visiting friends or family.

Cheryl Cole was in Tanzania when she contracted the disease; she was diagnosed with Malaria after she fainted at a London photo shoot. Although Cheryl had been on the full course of Malaria tables it just shows how important anti-mosquito precautions are, even if you are on medication.

When buying travel insurance it is important to read the small print, most insurers state that you are not covered for, ‘any expenses incurred as a result of a tropical disease where you have not had the recommended inoculation and /or taken the recommended medication.’ If something was to happen whilst on holiday and you had not followed your GP’s advice then the insurance company may not pay out on a claim. Not only has the disease ruined your holiday, you may have a large bill to pay at the end.

6 Tips to help stay Mosquito free:

  • If you keep doors and windows open at your accommodation ensure that window screens have been put up.
  • At night, sleep with a mosquito net surrounding your bed. This is the ideal time to get bitten as you are still and unaware.
  • Keep food in cupboards and empty bins so as not to attract any unwanted guests.
  • Citronella based candles or oil burners can help and can be very cheap.
  • Keep legs and arms covered if the weather permits. Even change your clothes in the evening to stay protecte
  • Invest in an insect repellent and apply at regular intervals throughout the day.

Make sure you have your travel insurance in place before you visit these tropical destinations. 24/7 travel insurance is cheap and offers two levels of cover depending on your circumstances. If you are planning on venturing on holiday more than once it may be cheaper to take an Annual Multi-trip policy. You must read the policy wording carefully to ensure you are familiar with your cover. A 7 day trip to South Africa would cost only £15.07*.

Source –

* Premium £15.07 includes Insurance Premium Tax based on an adult aged under 55 taking out a ‘Standard’ Single Trip 24/7 Travel Insurance policy including personal possessions cover for 7 days Worldwide excl USA/Canada/Caribbean and purchased within 14 days of departure date. Cover details and prices are correct at time of going to press (May 2011) and are subject to change.