A growing number of Calgarians who travel abroad are coming home with malaria, according to a new University of Calgary study that suggests fewer residents are taking the right steps to ward off the tropical disease.
According to the study, Calgary saw 295 laboratory-confirmed imported malaria cases between 2000 and 2011. Of those cases, less than 25 per cent of those infected sought medical advice before travelling, and just 60 per cent who did seek information from health professionals took preventive treatment.
“Calgarians can get malaria if travelling to affected regions. The good news is malaria can be prevented if the right precautions are taken,” says Dr. Dylan Pillai, senior author on the study and member of the U of C’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.
If you do fall ill then make sure you have the best travel insurance cover you can afford.
“There are very effective drugs available to both prevent and treat the illness, provided it is accessed within a timely fashion.”
The study was published Monday online in the journal PLOS ONE.
Malaria, caused by a bite from an infected mosquito, isn’t contagious and only visitors to affected regions are at risk. While severe cases can be fatal, no deaths have been reported in Calgary in the past 10 years.