President Goodluck Jonathan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Nigeria Accounts for Half of Imported Malaria in Ireland

DUBLIN, IRELAND – Figures from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) of Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) show that Nigeria accounts for almost half of malaria cases in Ireland.

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Of the eighty cases of malaria that were reported in the Republic of Ireland in 2014, about forty cases involved Nigerians who suffer exposure while returning to visit family in Nigeria. The remaining cases involved exposure in other countries in Africa and South Asia.

The 2014 data shows a 13 per cent increase in the incidence of malaria, making Ireland the third highest incidence of imported malaria in the EU. Only the United Kingdom and Belgium have higher rates of imported malaria.

The reported cases included 10 children, of whom four were visiting family in their country of origin. Two were new entrants to Ireland and one was an Irish citizen living abroad.

“Children can be particularly at risk. It is important that persons born in western and central Africa who take up resident in Ireland and who return to their country of origin with their Irish-born children are made aware of the fact that their children have no innate immunity to malaria, and must complete their full course of advised prophylaxis while taking steps to ensure they avoid mosquito bites.”

The HPSC has, therefore, asked people travelling to visit family in a country of origin in Africa or Asia to take precautions.

According to the World Health Organisation, Malaria infects almost 200 million people annually and results in 500,000 to 800,000 deaths annually.