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Background: Data on imported infections in children and young people (CYP) are sparse. Aims: To describe imported infections in CYP arriving from malaria-endemic areas and presenting to UK emergency departments (ED) who were screened for malaria. Methods: This is a retrospective, multi-centre, observational study nested in a diagnostic accuracy study for malaria rapid diagnostic tests. Any CYP < 16 years presenting to a participating ED with a history of fever and travel to a malaria-endemic area between 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2017 and who had a malaria screen as a part of standard care were included. Geographical risk was calculated for the most common tropical infections. Results: Of the 1414 CYP screened for malaria, 44.0% (n = 622) arrived from South Asia and 33.3% (n = 471) from sub-Saharan Africa. Half (50.0%) had infections common in both tropical and non-tropical settings such as viral upper respiratory tract infection (URTI); 21.0% of infections were coded as tropical if gastro-enteritis is included, with a total of 4.2% (60) cases of malaria. CYP diagnosed with malaria were 7.44 times more likely to have arrived from sub-Saharan Africa than from South Asia (OR 7.44, 3.78–16.41). Conclusion: A fifth of CYP presenting to participating UK EDs with fever and a history of travel to a malaria-endemic area and who were screened for malaria had a tropical infection if diarrhoea is included. A third of CYP had no diagnosis. CYP arriving from sub-Saharan Africa had the greatest risk of malaria. Abbreviations: CYP: children and young people; ED: emergency department; PERUKI: Paediatric Emergency Research in the UK and Ireland; RDT: rapid diagnostic test; VFR: visiting friends and relatives.

Original publication




Journal article


Paediatrics and International Child Health

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