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Warning over malaria symptoms

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Malaria symptoms should not be mixed up with those of common flu, campaigners have warned.

The call comes from the Malaria Awareness Campaign after more than 50% of people questioned in a poll were unsure over the symptoms of the condition.

The survey questioned 2,254 people, finding that 57% were unaware of the symptoms of malaria - which include headaches and a high temperature.

The research followed recent figures showing that the past two years saw a 30% increase in malaria cases.

Malaria Awareness Campaign spokesman Dr George Kassianos said Cheryl Cole’s recent high-profile malaria battle has helped to highlight that it can affect anyone but it is still difficult to detect.

He said: “Failure to identify malaria quickly can be potentially fatal, which is why I am urging patients to help their healthcare professional with the diagnosis by always volunteering information of travel abroad.

“I would also like to remind fellow healthcare professionals to confirm whether their patient has travelled to a malaria risk area, and to take this into consideration when making their diagnosis.”

Other symptoms of malaria include sweats and chills, muscle pains, coughing and diarrhoea.

There were 1,761 reports of malaria in the UK in 2010, up on the 1,495 in 2009 and 1,370 in 2008, according to the Health Protection Agency.

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