There were 71 malaria cases notified in Ireland in 2013 – an increase of 9pc on the previous year, new figures show.
The incidence rate now stands at 1.55 per 100,000 population. Among European Union (EU) member states reporting malaria data to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Ireland had the third highest incidence rate for imported malaria in 2010. Only the United Kingdom and Luxembourg had higher reported incidence rates.
In common with the rest of the EU, men dominated with the highest numbers of cases among males aged between 35 and 54. There were 12 cases reported in children, compared to eight the previous year.
Six of the paediatric cases reported "visiting family in country of origin" as their reason for travel while one case was a visitor from outside Ireland who became ill during their stay in Ireland.
There was no information on reason for travel for the remaining five paediatric cases. Of the six children who travelled to visit family, all visited sub-Saharan Africa. Six of the children were reported not taking any prophylaxis for their travel while the remaining six did not have prophylaxis reported.
Among all age groups, the category of traveller most affected in Ireland continued to be African immigrants and their families who were exposed while returning to "visit family in country of origin".
Where the reason for travel was reported in 2013, 71.7pc cited "visiting family in country of origin", all of whom travelled to Africa. The second most commonly cited reasons for travel this year were "business and professional travel".
Nigeria remained the country most frequently visited, accounting for 49pc of total cases and 67pc of cases where country of infection was reported.
The remaining cases were exposed in other countries within Africa. The majority of cases who reported travel to Nigeria were "visiting family in country of origin".
The report warned that malaria prevention messages should also be targeted at tourists, business travellers and other travellers with little previous exposure to malaria.
Health & Living