On 17 July 2018, Health Protection Scotland (HPS) published the latest malaria surveillance report, showing data up to the end of 2017.
Against a general global downward trend in malaria incidence, this publication reports on malaria episodes diagnosed in Scotland over the period 2013-2017. In 2017, there were 50 reports of malaria in Scotland, a decrease of 14% from 2016. Overall for 2013-2017, there were 292 episodes of malaria reported. The majority of episodes were caused by Plasmodium falciparum (78%) while 14% were caused by P. Vivax. Episodes caused by P. ovale (4%) and P. malariae (3%) were also reported. The majority of episodes were transmitted in West Africa (54%), with Nigeria and Ghana contributing the greatest number of these. East Africa was the next greatest source of reports (15%) followed by Asia (10%), in which Pakistan was the source of the greatest number of episodes (74%). Where a reason for travel was given, people visiting friends and relatives (VFR) contributed 37% of the episodes, followed by business or professional travellers (24%) and holiday travellers (13%). The discussion summarises some recent observations in malaria epidemiology globally, including countries where there have been significant increases in cases in recent years, as well as recent sporadic local outbreaks in Europe.
Finally, the report summarises advice for travellers highlighting the latest evidence-based guidance on the TRAVAX (for health professionals) and fitfortravel (for the general public) websites.