Kruger Park and Malaria

Nick CoetzerBlog

YOUR GUIDE TO
MALARIA & THE KRUGER PARK


Overview

The Kruger National Park is in the malarial zone and while it is considered a low risk area, we do recommend you consult your local doctor before you travel. Here is a breakdown of the disease:

What is Malaria

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called “malaria vectors.” There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat

  • P. falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite on the African continent. It is responsible for most malaria-related deaths globally.
  • P. vivax is the dominant malaria parasite in most countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa.

Symptoms

Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, and chills– may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparummalaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.

Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ involvement is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.

Prevention

Prevention of mosquito bites between dusk and dawn is the first line of defence against malaria. Measures to prevent mosquito bites include sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets and using protective clothing and insect repellents. Depending on the malaria risk in the area to be visited, international travellers may also need to take preventive medication (chemoprophylaxis) prior to, during, and upon return from their travel.

Some groups of travellers, especially young children, pregnant women and individuals with a weakened immune system, are at particular risk of developing serious illness if they become infected with malaria.

Malaria is preventable. Take precautions when travelling.