According to new research* carried out by Lloydspharmacy, the UK's leading community pharmacy chain, around 2.1million British holidaymakers and travellers are ignoring the need to protect themselves against malaria.
This may explain the alarming rise in the number of cases found in the UK, with the British Medical Journal reporting a 30% rise in malaria cases in the UK over the last 15 years**.
According to the new survey of over 1000 people, 25% had travelled to a malaria hotspot in the last five years, with the African continent the most popular of these destinations (11%). The research also found that 19% of these intrepid adventurers either ignored the risk of malaria, or abandoned their malaria medication during the danger period. Despite malaria being one of the leading causes of disease and death in the world, with an estimated 300-500 million new cases worldwide every year, resulting in 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths***, Lloydspharmacy found 9% of men and 5% of women simply relied on less effective measures like mosquito repellent, nets or Vitamin B to protect themselves from the potentially deadly disease. A worrying 11% did not even realise that they had travelled to a malarial hotspot.
The release of these findings coincides with the launch of a new complete range of prescription only anti-malarial pills which are available through the Lloydspharmacy' Online Doctor. This is one of only a few online services of its kind and does not require a visit to a GP. This service is designed to encourage travellers to stock up on the necessary anti-malaria pills before travelling
Chris Frost, Head of Medicines at Lloydspharmacy said "We are far too complacent about the risks of malaria and as a result we have one of the worst track records amongst industrialised countries for bringing this disease home from our holidays. Our new online malaria pills service aims to encourage holidaymakers to protect themselves by making it as easy as possible to access the necessary malaria pills.
"Unfortunately all it takes is just one bite from an infected mosquito to contract malaria and it can be deadly if not treated. However, buying the medication isn't enough - it will do little to protect travellers unless they follow the instructions carefully."
The Lloydspharmacy online malaria service involves the customer completing an online questionnaire which is screened by a GP from Dr Thom. If the customer meets appropriate criteria, a prescription is issued and medication distributed with advice on how to take the medication to best effect.
* ICM Survey, Sample 1040, fieldwork done 12th – 14th December 2008
** A Health Protection Agency study identified 6,753 cases of falciparum malaria diagnosed in the UK between 2002 and 2006. This is a 30% increase over the last 15 years, according to the British Medical Journal.
Lloydspharmacy has around 1700 pharmacies across the UK. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations. The company employs over 16,000 staff and dispenses over 145 million prescription items annually.
Lloydspharmacy is a community pharmacy with primary care at the heart of its business. This is why it has launched a range of products aimed at improving community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors and allergy relievers, as well as a suite of convenient professional health check services including free blood pressure and diabetes testing, and cholesterol and heart checks in the comfort of a private consultation room.
Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart. Celesio is the leading pharmaceutical distribution company in Europe and is represented in 16 countries. With its three divisions, Patient and Consumer Solutions, Pharmacy Solutions and Manufacturer Solutions, the group covers the entire scope of pharmaceutical trade and pharmaceutical-related services.
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