MALARIA, the silent killer?A simple guide for travellers

What is malaria?

Malaria is a very serious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Four species of the parasites produce the disease which is transmitted by the female anopheline mosquito. The most dangerous is P. falciparum. If untreated it can lead to fatal cerebral malaria.

What are the symptoms?

Flu-like symptoms: headaches, muscle aches, confusion, dizziness, vomiting (lasting several hours), sweating, tiredness, but most of all, fever. Anemia and jaundice can occur.

Symptoms generally occur from 7 days to a few weeks after being bitten, however may not occur for up to one year.

How is it prevented?

The following drugs should be taken before embarking on a trip to a country where malaria is prevalent:

Atovaquone/proguanil

Doxycycline

Mefloquine

Primaquine (in special circumstances)

Visit your doctor or health clinic several weeks before travelling as these drugs need to be administered in advance.

A good insect repellent should also be applied to exposed skin whilst abroad; preferably one containing DEET (N.N - diethyl meta-toulamide) which is the only ingredient guaranteed to work and is long lasting. There are other repellents on the market for those not wishing to use DEET, but they need to be applied frequently.

What countries are at risk?

Afghanistan. Angola, Brazil, Benin, Burkino, Cambodia, Camaroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial New Guinea, Eritrea, Faso Burindi, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Bissau, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Principe, Rwanda, Sao Tome, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Uganda, Vietnam, Zaire, Zambia.

BE SAFE!