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Malaria – What you need to know

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Travelling to a location that is a high risk area for malaria? If you are, ensure you are prepared. If you are not sure if the location is a high risk area, you should ensure you find out from a reputable source. Malaria is endemic in parts of several African countries as well as parts of South Africa. Malaria, a life-threatening disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, is transmitted to people by the female Anopheles mosquito. Initial symptoms in people who are infected can include a fever, chills, fatigue, headache, joint pain, dizziness and vomiting. Symptoms can present anytime from one week to a year after a person is infected. If you experience some or all of these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately. Even if you had taken prophylactic medication, there is still a risk that you may have contracted malaria and therefore, the treating doctor must be advised of your travel. Malaria could cause serious problems such as damage to the kidneys and heart. Medication must be completed to prevent further complications or death. To reduce your chances of developing malaria, visit a medical professional or travel clinic prior to departure to obtain the correct prophylactic medication if indicated. Before travelling to your destination, pack long-sleeved shirts or blouses and long pants to take along with you. These should be worn especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active. Pack insect repellents and a mosquito net. When you are at your destination, keep main doors and windows closed between dusk and dawn. In case of a medical emergency, contact ER24 on 084 124.  

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