Malaria is the most important parasitic infection in humans and is the tropical disease most commonly imported into the UK, with approximately 1500 cases reported each year and rising, apart from 2008. Immigrants and second- and third-generation relatives returning home assuming they are immune from malaria are by far the highest-risk group. They may take no prophylaxis or may be deterred by the cost, may not adhere to advice, may receive poor advice or some combination of these factors.
In the UK, the prevalence of imported malaria in pregnancy is unknown. A review of the burden of malaria in pregnancy estimated that about one in four women in sub-Saharan Africa in areas of stable transmission has malaria at the time of birth. Online and telephone enquiries with the Health Protection Agency and Eurosurveillance archives and reviews of published reports failed to uncover a report of maternal death from malaria in UK for the past 10 years. Maternal deaths from malaria are unlikely to be reported when they occur in endemic countries.
The aim of this guideline is to provide clinicians with up-to-date, evidence-based information on the diagnosis and treatment of malaria in pregnancy, in situations that are likely to be encountered in UK medical practice. Initial rapid assessment and management is covered in Appendix 1. Prevention of malaria is covered in Green-top Guideline No. 54A: The prevention of malaria in pregnancy.