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Let’s delve into what malaria is, where it occurs, who is at risk, and how to protect yourself during and after travel.

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a disease that affects many countries and is primarily transmitted through the bits of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.  Although it can be a serious illness, it is preventable and treatable with the right measures.

  • Malaria is a disease prevalent in tropical countries.
  • The disease is transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
  • It can be prevented and treated effectively with antimalarial medication.
  • Unlike some illnesses, malaria is not contagious and cannot spread from person to person.
  • The risk of infection varies depending on factors such as the type of local mosquitoes and the season, with the highest risk during the rainy season in tropical countries.

If you decide you don’t want to travel in a malaria area, there are plenty of malaria-free safaris to choose from.
Coming soon: Link to some Malaria free travel ideas

Where does malaria occur?

Malaria typically is found in warmer regions of the world — in tropical and subtropical countries.
In many malaria-endemic countries, malaria transmission does not occur in all parts of the country. Even within tropical and subtropical areas, transmission will not occur:

At very high altitudes; During colder seasons in some areas; In deserts (excluding the oases); and In some countries where transmission has been interrupted through successful control/elimination programs.

Generally, in warmer regions closer to the equator:

Transmission will be more intense, and Malaria is transmitted year-round.

In cooler regions, transmission will be less intense and more seasonal.

Content source: Global HealthDivision of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria

Where is Malaria found?

Who is at risk?

Some people are more susceptible to developing severe malaria than others. Infants and children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS are at particular risk.

Preparing to travel to a Malaria risk area
  • Malaria can be prevented through chemoprophylaxis (usually a tablet taken orally), which suppresses the blood stage of malaria infections, thereby preventing malaria disease.
  • Consult your GP or Travel Clinic before traveling to malaria-endemic areas for preventive measures.
  • Inform your doctor if you plan to scuba dive after visiting a malaria area, as this may affect the type of antimalarial prescribed.
  • Ensure that you have comprehensive travel health insurance. It is essential that you have adequate cover to ensure you can be evacuated to the nearest major hospital and repatriated to your home country, should you become ill.
  • Read our article: The Importance of Travel Insurance »
Travelling in a Malaria risk area
  • Follow the prescribed schedule of your antimalarial medication for maximum effectiveness.
  • Insect Repellent is included in your Timeless Africa Safaris Safari waist pouch. Most safari lodges also provide insect repellent.
  • Apply after sunscreen(be aware that the protection from your sunscreen may be reduced by the repellent, therefore use sunscreen with 30-50 SPF to ensure you are protected).
  • Apply repellent when your skin is exposed, particularly at dawn and dusk, after a shower/bath, swimming or change of clothes.
  • Apply carefully around the face and eyes, avoid breathing in the repellent if using a spray, spray it onto your hands and then rub onto your face, avoiding your eyes.
  • Keep repellent away from synthetic clothes or plastics as some repellents may damage them, for example credit cards, phones, watches or glasses.
  • Soaps or lotion with a citronella fragrance is recommended, but do not offer full or prolonged protection.
  • Many lodges and camps provide either a mosquito net over your bed or mesh around doors/windows/tents.
  • Clothing stops mosquitoes reaching your skin and biting. Mosquitoes cannot bite through loose-fitting clothing but can if clothing is tight against your skin. In hot climates, your clothing can be thin, provided it is loose. Any areas of skin not covered by clothing should have insect repellent applied.
  • You can reduce the chance of mosquitoes entering your accommodation by using air conditioning or a fan, as insects are unlikely to enter rooms where air movement is used properly and constantly.
  • If you’re not feeling well at any stage during your safari, inform both your hotel/camp/lodge manager and your Travel Manager.
Post travelling to a Malaria risk area

Symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite, but can present much later (months after your travel).

The first symptoms (fever, headache, and chills) may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria.

Seek medical attention promptly if you experience any symptoms after visiting a malaria risk destination and inform the medical provider of your travel history.

For further information, visit: CDC African Safaris Overview

Learn about yellow fever vaccine and malaria prevention for specific countries, alphabetically sorted: CDC Yellow Fever Vaccine and Malaria Prevention

Stay informed about malaria and its distribution with this informative map: CDC Malaria Distribution Map

WHO (World Health Organization): Get your questions about malaria answered with their Q&A resource: WHO Malaria Q&A

Timeless Africa Safaris are not medical professionals. The above information was created with the sole purpose of sharing information and Timeless Africa Safaris assumes no responsibility or liability for any errors, changes or omissions in the content of this site. 
Before you travel please consult with the World Health Organisation (WHO) or your local travel clinic as the WHO recurrently change their regulations and we urge you to confirm your requirements at the time of your travels.  

In this article
  • What is Malaria?
  • Where does malaria occur
  • Parts of the world where malaria transmission occurs
  • Who is at risk
  • Preparing for travel
  • Travelling in a Malaria risk area
  • Post Travel

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