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
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
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
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.
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
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
Garlic, Vitamin B and ultrasound devices
do not prevent bites.
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
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
Women who are pregnant
should avoid travelling where there is
You are more at risk of severe
malaria and could have a miscarriage.