The following Malaria advice is courtesy of SANParks. We strongly advise that you follow the advice of your Doctor.
The risk of contracting malaria is often a concern when visiting the Kruger National Park. The Kruger is one of the two South African National Parks that are situated in malaria risk areas. The other park is Mapungubwe National Park. It is important to note that the risk of malaria in both of these parks is usually low, even in the summer months.
Malaria should be suspected in patients with any unexplained fever after visiting an area where malaria is endemic. The symptoms of malaria include:
- Cold / Flu-like Symptoms
- Stomach problems
- Fast heart rate or breathing
Most types of mosquito that are encountered will not carry the malaria parasite and if an individual is bitten it does not mean that they will contract malaria.
The risk of malaria can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most often bite between dusk and dawn. People are advised to stay indoors during this
Malaria prophylactic drugs can be taken that will further decrease the chances of contracting malaria. It is a difficult decision whether or not to take malaria prophylactics when visiting the Kruger National Park. The risk of contracting malaria needs to be weighed up against the side effects of the malaria prophylactic medication, and all the drugs available have various side effects. The choice of the appropriate drug that an individual should use is a decision that should be made in consultation with a medical doctor. There are three types of malaria prophylactic medications available for the strains of malaria occurring in South Africa, namely Doxycycline, Atovaquone/Proguanil
It is also important to know that taking malaria prophylaxis does not guarantee that an individual will not contract malaria, it decreases the risk of contracting the disease. Malaria should be excluded in anyone who presents with unexplained fever within 12 to 35 days after entering a malaria area. A blood test is the most accurate, although rapid tests are available that are also very accurate.