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British people have been warned not to misconstrue the signs of malaria with those associated with common flu after a survey highlighted confusion over the symptoms.
The study, commissioned by the Malaria Awareness Campaign, discovered that 57% of the 2,254 people quizzed were unable to recognise the symptoms for the deadly disease.
It emerged in March that malaria cases in Britain have increased by almost 30% since 2009.
Malaria Awareness Campaign spokesman Dr George Kassianos explained that Cheryl Cole’s high-profile battle with malaria has helped demonstrate that anyone can be affected, but it is still hard to detect.
He said: “The symptoms of malaria can be almost identical to those of common flu and can be non-specific, making it difficult for healthcare professionals to diagnose malaria early and accurately.
“But if flu-like symptoms are coupled with history of travel to a malarious destination in the last 12 months, or sometimes even longer, it is essential that this infectious disease is ruled out.
“Prevention is key and travellers should seek travel health advice six to eight weeks before they travel.”
Some of the symptoms associated with malaria include muscle pains, sweats, chills, a high temperature, coughing, headaches and diarrhoea.
The Health Protection Agency revealed that last year there were 1,761 reports of malaria in Britain, which is up on the 1,495 in 2009 and 1,370 in 2008.
Copyright © Press Association 2011