Malaria is spread by mosquitos infected with microscopic malaria parasites. Malaria is caused by five (5) possible parasites, but infection with one particular parasite (the Plasmodium falciparum parasite) can be especially dangerous. In rare cases, malaria can also be spread from person to person through blood transfusion, sharing injecting equipment, and from mother to foetus.
Malaria symptoms usually develop 7-30 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Symptoms of malaria include
In severe cases symptoms can include
⚠️ The infection is sometimes fatal.
Occasionally symptoms develop weeks, months or even up to one (1) year later. Some types of malaria can re-occur months or years after exposure.
Who is at Risk?
Malaria is present in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, the Americas and the Western Pacific. People who travel to these areas are at risk of getting malaria.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes a map indicating the risk of malaria transmission in different countries - here.
There is currently no specific vaccine against Malaria.
⚕️ Travellers can protect themselves from malaria by taking certain medications and preventing mosquito bites. People planning to visit malaria-affected countries should seek advice from their doctor or a travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before departing.
Protect yourself against mosquitoes and the risk of diseases they transmit:
Cover up while outside - wear loose, long-sleeved, light-coloured clothing, covered footwear, and socks. Mosquitoes can bite through tight clothing.
Treat clothing and gear with permethrin - Use 0.5% permethrin to treat clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents) or buy permethrin-treated clothing and gear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website includes details about how to use permethrin - here
Apply mosquito repellent evenly to all areas of exposed skin.
The most effective repellents contain picaridin, DEET or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Natural or homemade repellents provide limited protection. Read the instructions to find out how often you should reapply repellent. Always apply sunscreen first and then apply repellent. Take special care during peak mosquito-biting hours.
The mosquitoes that transmit diseases such as malaria can live indoors and bite during the day and night.
Stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms
Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
Nets are most effective when they are treated with a pyrethroid insecticide, such as permethrin. Pre-treated bed nets can be purchased before travelling, or nets can be treated after purchase.
Avoid known areas of high mosquito-borne disease transmission or outbreaks.
Discover more about Malaria at the following sites:
General Travel Advice Disclaimer - here.