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Highland travellers heading overseas need to be aware of malaria risks, warns Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh following new report

By Staff Reporter

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TRAVELLERS heading from the Highlands to tropical climes need to be aware of the malaria risk that awaits them, leading physicians have warned.

The Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh made the call after a new report by Health Protection Scotland found that the number of Scots developing malaria had increased slightly.

There were 52 reports of malaria in the country in 2018, marginally up on the previous year.

There have been calls to make people more aware of the risks before travelling, and of the need to see a GP quickly if they develop symptoms upon their return.

“Malaria is a serious tropical disease which can be fatal, and it must be treated rapidly," said a Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh spokesperson. "Spread by mosquitos, symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headaches, vomiting, muscle pains and diarrhoea.

“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.”

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