Malaria warning to travellers


Parents and their children who travel to countries where malaria is present are reminded that it is vital for all travellers to take anti-malaria preventive medicine to prevent serious illness.

Travellers to sub-Saharan Africa have the greatest risk of both getting malaria and dying from their infection. Travellers to any country where malaria is present may be at risk of infection.

People who live in countries where malaria is present build up immunity from years of exposure to malaria. It never provides complete protection but it does reduce the chance that malaria will cause severe illness or even death.

Most malaria deaths in Africa are in young children. In areas with less malaria, all age groups are at risk of illness due to lower immunity. Areas with low levels of malaria include Asia, the Arabian peninsula and Central/South America.

Immunity to malaria wears off with time unless people are regularly exposed to malaria. People who grew up in areas where malaria is present and then moved to countries of the world where malaria is not found, such as Ireland, will have reduced immunity. Both parents and children are at high risk of developing malaria when they travel to countries where malaria is present.

To prevent becoming ill with malaria it is necessary to finish a full course of the appropriate anti-malaria preventive medicine as well as preventing being bitten by mosquitoes. This will prevent malaria infection and even death in your children.

So, if you are planning to travel, or returning home, to a part of the world where malaria is present, make sure to visit your doctor or travel physician as you are planning your trip, and ask about anti-malaria medicine for you and your children.