Travel insurance holders 'should be warned of malaria risk'

Tuesday, 01 February 2011

Travel insurance policyholders going on last-minute holidays should be warned of the risk if they are going to places where there is a risk of malaria.

Specialists in infectious diseases from James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough are calling for travel websites to advise people of the malaria risk in certain countries.

In a letter to the British Medical Journal, John Widdrington said: "Travel websites need to include explicit messages about taking medical advice and effective chemoprophylaxis before travelling to malaria endemic areas."

He said part of the problem with malaria rose from the growing trend of Brits taking last-minute holidays.

"The time to think about what health precautions you may need to take is before you book," he warned.

A spokesperson for travel association Abta told the BBC most websites do carry information, but sometimes it was not always "unfront".

"When people are in a hurry not everybody will look in true depth and do all the research they need to," she added.

Last year, popstar Cheryl Cole was hospitalised with malaria after returning from a trip to Tanzania. A spokesperson for the X Factor judge said she had been taking medication during her trip.

Posted by Claire Carter

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