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Malaria -what a tourist need to know....

 

WHAT IS MALARIA?

Malaria is a disease caused by protozoal parasites of the genus Plasmodium.This disease is transmitted from man to man by mosquitos. An area is classified as malarial when more than 5% persent of the population for that area carries the parasite. It is a well-known fact that malaria is one of the most serious tropical diseases in the world but unfortunately also very common.

MALARIA AREAS

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In Southern Africa the high areas for getting Malaria is the Tropic and Subtropis areas. In South Africa the risk is higher during and after the rainy seasons than the rest of the year. The Kruger National Park and it’s adjacent reserves, Mpumalanga and the Lowveld  areas of the Limpopo and Kwazulu-Natal Provinces are high areas between October – May, but low in June – September. Most people contract Malaria between February and May.

HOW CAN I PREVENT MALARIA

  • It is most important to note that no preventative measures are 100% safe.
  • There is no reason why this disease should deter you from coming to the Kruger National Park if the necessary precautions are taken. Please note that if precautions are not taken and/or if the disease is not diagnosed and treated early, malaria is potentially fatal.
  • Avoid going outdoors between sunset and sunrise as mosquitos feed in the early evening and mornings.
    If you do go out at those times, wear long pants that cover your ankles and long-sleeved shirts. Make sure that they are made of strong material and are light in colour. Mosquitos can bite through thin materials.
  • Insect reppelant should be applied to exposed skin. Reppelants containing (DEET) are the best to use, of which they are only effective for up to 6-8 hours.
  • Stay away from stagnant pools as that is where mosquitos like to breed.
  • Use insecticide aerosoles, coils or electrically heated insecticide tablets for mosquitos that are in your rooms. It's best to spray before sunset.
  • Sleep under a good quality mosquito net. Babies should always be protected by mosquito nets over their cots.
  • The best would be to take Malaria tablets (Prophylaxis, Doxycycline or a combination of Chloroquin & Paludrine).
  • Even if you have had Malaria before, you are still at risk at gettong it again.

THE BEST AND MOST THOROUGHLY APPLIED REPELLENTS ARE NOT ALWAYS ABLE TO PREVENT A MOSQUITO FROM PENETRATING YOUR SKIN.

 

MALARIA IN PREGNANCY, INFANTS, SMALL CHILDREN AND OTHER SPECIAL CASES

Despite the fact that the South African National Department of Health recommends that pregnant women should preferably not visit a malaria area, many pregnant women do visit a malaria area and even live in the Kruger National Park. Extra care for preventing mosquito bites should be taken as malaria in pregnancy holds an increase in risk for both mother and child.

  • It is safe to use Chloroquin and Paludrine in pregnancy, even in the first three months of pregnancy.
  • Mefloquin and Doxycycline must not be used in pregnancy.
  • Because malaria has a faster and harsher effect in infants and small children, extra care should be taken to prevent mosquito bites.
  • Take chloroquin syrup weekly and paludrine tablets daily in dosages according to age and weight – the appropriate dosage can be obtained from your general practitioner or chemist.
  • Drug transfer in breast milk is insignificant and infants require full preventative medication.
  • It is important to take the medication during and for four weeks after leaving the malaria area.

The following people should, if possible, avoid visiting malaria areas -or take extra precaution in preventing mosquito bites:

  • Cancer patients on chemotherapy or people on long term steroid therapy
  • People whose spleen have been removed
  • People with full blown aids – it is not contraindicated for an HIV positive person to visit a malaria area.
  • People suffering from porphyria must not use Doxycycline. In this case, the combination of Chloroquin and Paludrine is probably safe to use. The safety of Mefloquine in porphyria has not been established.
  • People with epilepsy should take care when using Chloroquin. Mefloquin is contraindicated in epilepsy.
  • Pilots and mountaineers should not take Mefloquin as it could impair balance.

COMMON SYMPTOMS OF MALARIA!!

The most common symptoms of Malaria are those which mimic flue. Some of the symptoms are: Fever, nausea, vomiting, diarrea, muscle & joint pains, shivering attacks & headaches. The symptoms may be continuous or dissapear, then to return again. If you develope these symptoms between 7 - 20 days or 3-6 months after visiting a malaria area, you must consult your medical practitioner immediatly, and have a blood test done, from the start of the symptoms. Pregnant woman and young children are practically prone to complications and if untreated, can die within 24-48 hours.

Ensure a safe and care-free stay in the endemic Malaria area CALL THE 24 HOUR PHONE-IN LINE 082-234-1800 for information about the current Malaria status, prevention, prophylaxis, symptoms and signs

ARE SOME PEOPLE MORE AT RISK THAN OTHERS?

Pregnant women, children under the age of five years, elderly people, sickly people and transplant patients are more at risk. These people should take particular care to avoid contracting malaria

 

 

 

 

   
       
       
       
       
       
       
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