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Bargain-hunting Brits would risk a potentially fatal holiday disease in order to land a last-minute trip to the sun, according to new research1.

Nearly half of those surveyed (42 per cent) said running out of time to obtain the recommended vaccinations or anti-malaria medication would not deter them from considering a late deal.

Results of the independent national poll – commissioned by the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service, show one in ten people (12 per cent) have travelled abroad without following official health advice. A third (34 per cent) said they did not have time, due to it being a late booking.

The under 35s are the biggest risk-takers, with one in five (19 per cent) having travelled without advised immunisations or antimalarial tablets – some believing they did not need protection because they were healthy (9 per cent).

Dr Nitin Shori, Medical Director of the Pharmacy2U Online Doctor service and a working NHS GP, said: “Last-minute holiday deals can be tempting, but it’s a good idea to check you’ll have enough time to get any immunisations or medication you need. Being blasé about travel advice can easily catch people out and many just aren’t aware of the current guidance.

“It’s best to allow six to eight weeks to get a programme of vaccinations.Typhoid, Diphtheria and various others are recommended for many longer-haul destinations and some, such as Yellow Fever, could be compulsory.

“Malaria is a problem in certain tourist spots too – particularly parts of Africa and Asia. Travellers in high risk areas should take antimalarial tablets, which need to be started at least a day or two before you travel – but up to three weeks in advance, depending on the type of tablets you choose.”

According to latest statistics from Public Health England2 there are more than 1000 cases of imported malaria in the UK annually. Dr Shori adds: “As many as seven in ten of those who return to Britain with malaria are thought to have the more serious form – known as Plasmodium falciparum. Symptoms usually take a week or two to present themselves – longer in some cases. They often appear to be flu-like, yet have the potential to develop into a life-threatening condition. It’s important to take the full course of malaria tablets to minimise your chances of getting the disease.”