Although malaria transmission is lower in South Africa at this time of the year, there is still some risk and transmission remains high in neighbouring countries. The highest malaria transmission in the region would be found in Mozambique, however, with a slightly lower risk in the very far south of Mozambique.
In South Africa malaria transmission areas include the north-eastern parts, covering Mopani and Vhembe districts of Limpopo Province. Other areas of transmission include the lowveld of Mpumalanga Province, including the Kruger National Park and surrounds, and the northern KwaZulu-Natal Province along the Mozambique border. The Waterberg district of Limpopo and surrounds has a low risk with occasional cases.
Travellers to malaria transmission areas in South Africa, as well as to the neighbouring countries, are advised to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes through the meticulous use of repellents containing DEET; covering bare skin after dark if outside; closing insect screens on doors and windows; and using fans or air conditioners, if available.
Travellers should also consult their doctors, clinics or pharmacists as they may need antimalarial chemoprophylaxis. Current recommended chemoprophylactic medications include doxycycline or atovaquone-proguanil, which are available without prescription, but the healthcare worker needs to advise the best option for each individual traveller. It should be noted that whilst these medications are very good at preventing malaria, they are not 100% effective. Mefloquine, which is also one of the recommendations, is currently unavailable in South Africa. This limits options for young children and means that there is nothing to recommend for pregnant women, and they should be counselled to avoid malaria areas.
All travellers, whether travelling to low- or high-risk areas, are advised to be aware of the malaria symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches and general malaise, and to report to their nearest health facility or doctor if they suspect that they may have contracted malaria, even if they have used the preventive measures listed above.
Amayeza Info Services
08 July 2019