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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit www.southafricaholiday.org.uk

South Africa Holiday: Avoid malaria

Malaria is found only in the north-east of South Africa, in parts of Mpumalanga, much of Limpopo, and in the north-eastern coast of KwaZulu-Natal. The threat of malaria need not affect your decision to enjoy and experience this region.

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Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium which are transmitted by mosquitoes. You cannot be vaccinated against malaria.
You can only contract malaria by being bitten by an infected mosquito. With modern insect repellents and some common sense you can reduce the chances of being bitten to close to zero.
Malaria is found only in the Lowveld areas of northern and eastern Mpumalanga, much of Limpopo, and on the north-eastern Maputaland coast of KwaZulu-Natal (including Zululand). It is also found in Swaziland.
Although malaria is not much of a risk in the winter months  (May to October), it is best to take adequate precautions if you visit these areas. Only two of the South African National Parks are in a malaria risk area and they are the Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Park.
At both these safari parks the risk is usually low, particularly from May to October, but outbreaks sometimes occur during the warmer and wetter months from November to April. A 24-hour malaria hotline is available on +27 82 234 1800 to give detailed explanation on risk and advice on precautionary measures.
More than three-quarters of British travellers who contracted malaria in 2005 did not take preventive measures, such as malaria prevention tablets. However, malaria can occur despite appropriate prevention, and therefore you should promptly seek medical care in the event of a fever or flu-like illness in the first year following your return from travelling.

Malaria precautions

The most vulnerable times are between dusk and dawn.
Avoid mosquito bites. If you are out at night wear long-sleeved clothing, long trousers and socks.
Mosquitoes may bite through thin clothing, so spray an insecticide or repellent on them. Insect repellents should also be used on exposed skin.
Spraying insecticides in the room, burning pyrethroid coils and heating insecticide impregnated tablets all help to control mosquitoes.
The best insect repellents are those containing diethyl toluamide (DEET).
If sleeping in an unscreened room, or out of doors, a mosquito net (which should be impregnated with insecticide) is a sensible precaution.
Garlic, Vitamin B and ultrasound devices do not prevent bites.

Prophylactic drugs

Mefloquine (Lariam) OR doxycycline (Vibramycin) OR atovaquone + proguanil (Malarone) is usually recommended for those visiting malaria risk areas.
For most of these drugs you should start taking them several days or weeks before you arrive in the risk area - ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice.
Take the tablets absolutely regularly, preferably with or after a meal.
It is extremely important to continue to take them for four weeks after you have returned, to cover the incubation period of the disease. (Malarone requires only 7 days post-travel).
If you are already in South Africa and you decide to visit a malaria-risk area, go and see a doctor or pharmacist for advice. These prophylactic drugs my be available over-the-counter in South Africa.

Malaria and pregnancy

Expectant mothers should avoid malaria medications.
Women who are pregnant should avoid travelling where there is malaria risk.
You are more at risk of severe malaria and could have a miscarriage.
Immunisations & Vaccinations | Diarrhoea | DVT | Earache | Malaria
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