Take precautions against malaria

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With focus on malaria awareness this month, ER24 is urging people to take precautions against the life-threatening disease when travelling to a high-risk area. Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite, called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to people by the female Anopheles mosquito. The parasites multiply rapidly in the liver and red blood cells of the infected person. It is vital for people to take medication prior to visiting a high-risk area to reduce chances of being infected. In South Africa, malaria is endemic in parts of north eastern KwaZulu-Natal, parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo. High-risk African countries include the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Angola, Kenya and Malawi. People who are at a higher risk of being infected by malaria include young children as well as pregnant women and people from non-endemic areas. When visiting these areas you should:

  • Wear long-sleeved clothing and long pants especially at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.
  • Use insect repellents that are available in the form of lotion and spray for example.
  • Close doors and windows between dusk and dawn.
  • Use a mosquito net.

Symptoms present one to two weeks after a person is infected. Symptoms may include fever, headaches, chills, joint pain, dizziness and vomiting. If you experience some or all of these symptoms, visit a doctor immediately. Medication must be completed to prevent further complications or death. Photo credit: http://www.scientistsagainstmalaria.net/vector/anopheles-dirus

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