Malaria cases up 9 per cent in Ireland
Travellers advised to take precautions after increase in cases among African community
Anopheles mosquito - carrier of malaria: People born in western and central Africa who are resident in Ireland and then return to their country of origin with Irish-born children should be aware that their children have no innate immunity to malaria.
Long-haul travellers have been urged to take suitable precautions against malaria after new figures showed a 9 per cent increase in the incidence of the disease in Ireland.
There were 71 malaria cases here last year, compared to 65 in 2012. All appeared to have been imported by travellers returning from malarious regions of the world, particularly Africa.
Third highest in Europe
Ireland now has the third highest incidence of imported malaria in Europe, after the UK and Luxembourg, according to the HSE’s Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC).
Men outnumbered women by 2:1 among cases reported, which included 12 children.
Almost half involved people visiting family in their country of origin, in particular Nigeria and other African countries.
But while the HPSC says the incidence is highest among people travelling to visit family, malaria prevention messages should also be targeted at tourists, business travellers and other travellers with little exposure to the disease.
Children at risk
It says children can be particularly at risk. People born in western and central Africa who are resident in Ireland and then return to their country of origin with Irish-born children should be aware that their children have no innate immunity to malaria, while their own immunity will have waned considerably.
These groups should take preventative medicine and take steps to avoid mosquito bites, according to the HPSC.
In a report published to coincide with World Malaria Day today, the HPSC says 28 of the 71 cases reported last year involved people born in Nigeria. Eleven relate to Irish-born patients while eight involved people born in other African countries.
In 2010, at least 660,000 people died of malaria.