Malaria hits Greece25th August 2011
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has revealed that six cases of malaria have been seen in Greece.
The warning comes after it emerged that family doctors and local authority pest control officers are seeing an increase in reports of mosquito bites in the UK.
Data from NHS Direct has shown that there were 9,061 calls in England since May complaining of bites and stings – though not all were mosquito-related - but a survey of UK local authorities found that reports of mosquito bites over the last decade are 2.5 times greater than in the 10 years up to 1996.
Parts of southern England are now becoming more hospitable for mosquitoes, though there is no evidence to suggest they are carrying malaria.
However, the HPA is advising travellers to Greece to take more precautions against insect bites after cases of malaria as a result of local transmission.
Greek authorities have set up enhanced surveillance of malaria in the districts of Laconia in the south and Evoia in the east where most cases have been identified and is intensifying local mosquito control programmes.
Professor David Hill, Director of the HPA’s National Travel Health Network and Centre said: “The risk to holiday makers of catching malaria while in Greece remains extremely low, so there is no need to take anti-malarials when visiting this country, but travellers should take measures to prevent being bitten.”
He said that the recent cases of malaria in Greece reinforce the importance of taking precautions against being bitten while on holiday.
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