What is Malaria?

Malaria is an illness caused by a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of certain mosquitoes. The risk of malaria depends on the traveller’s itinerary, the duration of travel, and the place where the traveller will spend the evenings and nights. These factors will be assessed during your consultation.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, muscle ache and malaise but may progress to a severe infection including death. Early stages of malaria may resemble the onset of the flu. Travellers who become ill with fever of greater than 38 deg for more than 24 hours, during or after travel in a malaria endemic area should seek medical attention and should inform their physician of their recent travel history. As malaria does not always cause the classic pattern of symptoms, any fever could be malaria, in any person who has been in a malaria area any time in the past 12 months.


Prevention

It is essential to take all measures to avoid mosquito bites between dusk and dawn while travelling in endemic areas.

There is no vaccination for malaria, however preventive anti-malaria medication may be prescribed to reduce the risk of infection. No medication is 100% effective, or completely free of possible side effects. The decision to use medications depends on many factors, and in some travellers the only prevention required may be mosquito protection using an adequate insect repellent eg BUSHMAN’S GEL. Medication must be taken as prescribed.

Pregnant women and young children are strongly advised not to travel to malaria areas because no anti-malaria medications are entirely safe for them to take. Options include delaying the trip or travel to other areas.


Treatment

Early treatment is essential to prevent serious complications of malaria. See your doctor if you fall ill within a year of visiting a malaria area. Travellers should report fever, muscular aches, headaches or gastro-enteritis symptoms.

All anti-malarial drugs and repellents, including BUSHMAN’S GEL, PERMETHRIN KITS & SPRAY can be obtained from Travel Vaccination Health Care.