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Malaria Prevention & Treatment Advice 

Malaria Prevention

TRAVELLING INSIDE SOUTH AFRICA

Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. It has plagued mankind for centuries and remains a risk today, particularly in parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Malaria is both preventable and curable, but if not diagnosed and treated early it can also be fatal. The map below highlights the malarial areas in South Africa according to the potential risk. The South African Department of Health has maintained a highly effective malaria control programme for over 60 years. Although the malaria risks are real, Government is steadfastly implementing measures to prevent infection to humans and to treat this disease. A targeted mosquito control intervention i.e. Indoor Residual Spraying; and the distribution of highly effective drugs for malaria cases are some of the key malaria interventions used in South Africa.

If you are travelling to a malaria area:

  • Take an effective malaria prophylaxis. There are several effective preventive drugs. Consult your doctor or travel clinic for the best one for you;
  • Wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts between dusk and dawn. Anopheles mosquitoes tend to bite at night, hence precautionary measures should be taken especially at this time. Use mosquito repellents and sleep under an insecticide treated mosquito net to avoid mosquito bites;
  • Consult your doctor and request malaria test if you develop any flu-like symptoms during or after you have been in a malaria area. While the symptoms normally develop up to 2 weeks after the parasite has entered the body, symptoms of the disease can occur up to 6 months after you have left the malaria area, so never discount the possibility that you could have malaria when feeling ill;
  • Get treated immediately with effective antimalarial drugs if you test positive for malaria. If diagnosed and treated promptly the disease can be cured.
  • Remember malaria can be prevented, treated and cured.
  • Enjoy your travels to beautiful South Africa and have a safe and relaxing trip.

TRAVELLING OUTSIDE SOUTH AFRICA

If you are travelling to malarial areas both within and outside South Africa, you should take precautions to prevent the disease. You should also be aware of the symptoms of the disease and how to treat it. The symptoms of malaria are very similar to flu e.g. headache, fever, muscular and joint pains, sweating, shivering attacks, nausea, diarrhea and fatigue. Symptoms can still occur up to six months after leaving a malaria risk area. Please refer to the WHO’s Global Malaria Programme for malaria travel advice outside of South Africa, and refer to the map below.

If you are travelling to a malaria area:

    • Take an effective malaria prophylaxis. There are several effective preventive drugs. Consult your doctor or travel clinic for the best one for you;
    • Wear long trousers and long sleeve shirts between dusk and dawn. Anopheles mosquitoes tend to bite in the nighttime;
    • Use mosquito repellents and sleep under an insecticide treated mosquito net to avoid mosquito bites;
    • Consult your doctor and request a malaria test if you develop any flu-like symptoms during or after you have been in a malaria area. While the symptoms normally develop up to 2 weeks after the parasite has entered the body, symptoms of the disease can occur up to 6 months after you have left the malaria area, so never discount the possibility that you could have malaria when feeling ill;
    • Get treated immediately with effective antimalarial drugs if you test positive for malaria. If diagnosed and treated promptly the disease can be cured.

WHO: Countries at risk of malaria transmission (2011)

PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE

Going somewhere? Know whether there is a risk of getting malaria in the area you are visiting. Malaria is one of the most serious tropical diseases and can be deadly if not detected and treated at an early stage.

    • Take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites in all risk areas.
    • If recommended, take appropriate medication as directed.
    • Seek immediate medical attention if you have any “flu-like” symptoms for up to six months after leaving a malaria area.

Measures to avoid mosquito bites

      • Allow your house to be sprayed if you are residing in a malaria risk area.
      • Wear long sleeved clothing when going out at night.
      • Apply an insect repellant containing DEET to exposed skin at night.
      • Sleep under a mosquito-proof bed net treated with an approved insecticide.
      • Spray inside your house with an insecticide spray after closing windows and doors.

Take your medicines correctly

        • Take only the medicines for preventing malaria that have been recommended by a health professional.
        • Start before entering the malaria risk area and continue as prescribed by a health professional.

Early symptoms of malaria

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills

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