NB To significantly reduce your risk, take precautionary measures against mosquito bites throughout the year in all risk areas
South Africa is mostly free from malaria however the wildlife rich areas in the northern and north eastern areas of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Kruger National Park, northern KwaZulu-Natal and Swaziland are malarial.
The biggest risk of contracting malaria in these subtropical areas is during the hot rainy season (November to April) when mosquitoes proliferate.
The most common and dangerous form of malaria in this area is contracted through bites from the Plasmodium falciparum mosquito, and can be fatal. Malaria symptoms can develop after a week or as long as six months after exposure. Indications of malaria can be deceptively mild and flu-like. If you become feverish or have flu-like symptoms up to three months after leaving a malarial area don’t delay in getting medical attention, even if you have taken prophylaxis.
The best prevention is to avoid getting bitten. Cover up with long sleeves and pants and remain indoors at night. Sleep under a mosquito net sprayed with insect repellent, use an insect repellent liberally on yourself containing DEET (di-ethyl toluamide), burn mosquito coils and take anti-malarial tablets. Consult your doctor on the best choice of drugs for you.
If you intend scuba diving in northern KwaZulu Natal or other coastal malarial areas then avoid certain malarial drugs like Larium that contain mefloquine as the combined effects with nitrogen can be hazardous. Inform your doctor that you intend scuba diving so that suitable prophylaxis can be prescribed.
The SAA Netcare Travel Clinics suggest doxycycline, mefloquine or atovaquone-proguanil as being the best anti-malarial pills and require a doctor’s prescription.
Pregnant women, very young children and immune-compromised people should ideally avoid malarial areas. Please speak to your doctor and view the Medical Research Council of South Africa website for more detail - link below.
Travel Clinic Durban ICC:
Tel: +27 31 3601122
Fax: +27 31 3601121