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Southern Africa Travel Advice:
Malaria


Malaria within Southern Africa is prevalent in a number of areas.

In South Africa it is encountered on the eastern side mainly in northern and eastern Mpumalanga, northern Kwa-Zulu Natal, and the border areas of the Limpopo Provinces.

Malaria is also common in the lower lying areas of Swaziland. It can also be found throughout Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and much of Botswana. Northern Namibia is also a malarious area.

Should you be visiting these areas malaria precautions are advised.

Malaria transmission is at its highest during the warmer and wetter months of November through to April. From May through to October the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced.

Both chloroquine-resistant and normal strains of malaria are prevalent in Africa. Malaria is transmitted by a very small percentage of female Anopheles mosquitoes. They are only active in the early evening and throughout the night, at the times when one is usually sleeping or sitting around the campfire.

Prevention
The best insurance is to avoid being bitten by using mosquito repellents liberally. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers/slacks in the evenings. If staying in a bungalow or tent, spray with an insecticide like Doom to kill any mosquitoes that may have flown into your room. Mosquito coils are effective.

Expert opinion differs regarding the best approach to malaria prophylaxis - please consult your doctor or chemist. The anti-malarial drugs must be taken exactly on schedule without missing doses.

It is important to bear in mind that malaria may be contracted despite chemoprophylaxis, especially in areas where chloroquine resistance has been reported.

If you become ill on your return, while still on prophylaxis or even once you have stopped taking them, ensure that your doctor does everything to establish that your illness is not malaria.

Malaria is not a serious problem if you are sensible and take basic precautions.

Symptoms
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells.

For most people, symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 8 days or up to 1 year later.

Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs. The type of drugs and length of treatment depend on which kind of malaria is diagnosed, where the patient was infected, the age of the patient, and how severely ill the patient was at start of treatment.

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