Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by a parasite. Humans get malaria from the bite of a malaria-infected mosquito.
When a mosquito bites an infected person, it ingests microscopic malaria parasites found in the persons blood. After a week or more, the mosquito can infect another person.
The malaria infected areas in South Africa include the following:
* High risk - Kruger National Park, the game reserves adjacent to the park and the far northern Zululand areas of Ndumo and Tembe Elephant Park.
* Intermediate risk areas - the lowveld areas west of Kruger Park in the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo and the Kwazulu Natal areas of Hluhluwe, Mkuze, St Lucia and north of St Lucia up to Kosi Bay.
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur.
Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. For most people, symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 8 days or up to 1 year later.
Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs. The type of drugs and length of treatment depend on which kind of malaria is diagnosed, where the patient was infected, the age of the patient, and how severely ill the patient was at start of treatment.
Malaria can be prevented by antimalarial drugs - consult your doctor or chemist. The antimalarial drugs must be taken exactly on schedule without missing doses.
Prevent mosquito and other insect bites by using insect repellent on exposed skin and flying insect spray in the room where you sleep. Wear long pants and long-sleeved shirts, especially from dusk to dawn. This is the time when mosquitoes that spread malaria bite.