Malaria is a potentially life-threatening infectious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites.
It is spread from one human to another through the bite of the infected Anopheles mosquitoes.
The four common types of malaria-causing parasites include Plasmodium Falciparum, P.ovale, P.vivax, and P.Malariae.
Plasmodium falciparum causes the most severe disease (Cerebral malaria) and is responsible for many malaria deaths worldwide.
Malaria Prevention… What can YOU do?
Take regular malaria chemoprophylaxis (prevention medicine) as prescribed by your medical practitioner or a travel doctor.
Apply mosquito repellent (DEET-based) to any exposed skin every 6-8 hours.
Wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, socks, and closed shoes.
Wear insecticide-treated clothing.
Sleep under an insecticide-treated mosquito net.
Stay indoors after dark with windows and doors closed.
Maintain the room air-conditioning at less than 22 degrees Celsius.
Use insecticides to spray your room at least one hour prior to entering in the evening to sleep.
Never travel without a Malaria Rapid Test Kit for early detection of malaria.
How to diagnose malaria?
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria decrease disease & prevent death.
Malaria is most commonly diagnosed using ‘rapid test’ technology where a finger prick sample of blood is tested and a result is obtained within 15 minutes.
You may still have malaria, even after a negative test.
If malaria is highly suspected, follow-up tests should be used and repeated every 6 hours until you are able to reach a doctor or medical facility.
What are the signs and symptoms of malaria?
Malaria symptoms start to appear 6 or more days (usually 10-21 days) after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Early symptoms are ‘flu-like’ and include:
Joint and muscle pain
Chills & rigors (shivering)
Nausea & vomiting
How to treat malaria?
There are different types of malaria medicines for treatment of malaria.
It is important that treatment is provided under the guidance of a health professional as there a many counterfeit and obsolete medications on the market.
Consult a travel doctor for further advice on the most appropriate medication for you and to discuss potential side effects.
If taken correctly, these medicines greatly reduce your risk of getting malaria, however, no medication provides complete protection and it is important that it is used with other prevention methods.
When am I no longer at risk of Malaria?
There may be a long incubation period after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Therefore, it is possible for malaria to occur even after an individual has left the malaria risk area.
If you get sick after visiting a malaria area, do a malaria rapid test and consult your doctor as soon as possible for further advice.