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Girls Aloud Cheryl Cole 'contracted malaria'

Cheryl Cole has contracted the potentially deadly disease malaria, according to reports.

The X Factor judge, 27, is said to have been diagnosed after collapsing at a photoshoot over the weekend. It follows a visit she made last month to the east African country of Tanzania.

According to the Daily Mirror, she is receiving treatment at London's private Cromwell hospital, where her friend, dancer Derek Hough, was pictured on Monday.

Also on Monday, Cole's publicist confirmed the singer had pulled out of work commitments for the coming days on the advice of doctors, but did not give a reason.

The spokesman said: "Following doctors' advice Cheryl Cole will be cancelling all work commitments for the next week."

Malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bites of infected mosquitos. Symptoms include headaches, fever and vomiting.

If not treated promptly, the disease can become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.

Cole, who also visited east Africa last year when she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro for Comic Relief, has been attending auditions for the next series of the ITV1 talent show since last month.

She has also been busy touring as a solo act for the first time, supporting Black Eyed Peas, in recent months.

The star, who earlier this year split from footballer husband Ashley Cole, is scheduled to play high-profile shows at next month's V Festival.

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