A total of 1,683 cases of imported malaria were reported in the UK in 2018, according to recently published annual data, 6.1% lower than reported in 2017.
A total of six UK deaths were associated with malaria importations in 2018, a number that has been steady since 2015. All were due to Plasmodium falciparum malaria acquired in Western Africa (three deaths), Middle Africa (one death), and an unspecified region of Africa (one death). Travel region has not been provided for the final death.
Cases were reported in England (1,597), Scotland (52), Wales (23) and Northern Ireland (11). Most cases in 2018 were caused by Plasmodium falciparum, which is consistent with previous years.
Of the cases that travelled abroad from the UK, and where the reason for travel was documented, 85% were visiting friends and relatives. This group of travellers appear not to be receiving, understanding or acting on health messages emphasising the importance of appropriate chemoprophylaxis. The UK Government has provided malaria prevention advice for travellers.
Further advice relating to malaria can be found on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.
Source: Public Health England (PHE), 8 July 2019