PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU SHOULD ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE EMBARKING ON A HOLIDAY IN A MALARIAL AREA.
WILD THINGS SAFARIS CANNOT AND WILL NOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE SHOULD YOU CONTRACT MALARIA ON SAFARI IN TANZANIA! PLEASE FOLLOW THE ADVICE BELOW TO MINIMISE THE CHANCE OF INFECTION
Malaria is endemic in Sub-Saharan Africa. The predominant species is Plasmodium falciparum (which causes Cerebral Malaria). Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous species of the disease. Malaria causes around 2.5 million deaths per year, with most of these deaths occurring in children.
Humans get malaria from the bite of a malaria-infected Anopheles mosquito. When a mosquito bites an infected person, it ingests microscopic malaria parasites (protozoans) found in the person's blood. The malaria parasite (Plasmodium) grows in the mosquito for a week or more before infection can be passed on. This maturation occurs first in the Mosquito's stomach with the parasites migrating to the Salivary glands when ready. If, after a week, the mosquito then bites another person, the parasites go from the mosquito's saliva glands into the person's bloodstream. The parasites then move to the person's liver, entering the liver's cells where they grow and multiply.
During this time when the parasites are multiplying in the liver, the person does not have any symptoms. The parasites subsequently leave the liver and enter the red blood cells. This may take from 8 days to several months to happen. Once inside the red blood cells, the parasites multiply. The red blood cells then burst, releasing the parasites which then attack other red blood cells. Toxins from the parasites are also released into the blood, this is when the person feels sick. When a mosquito bites this person while the parasites are in his or her blood, it will ingest some malaria parasites. After a week the mosquito can infect another host - and so on. The mosquito is the 'vector' for the disease.
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like symptoms, including shaking chills and sweats (fever cycle), severe headache, muscular aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may also occur.
Generally symptoms begin after 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 8 days or up to 1 year later. Two kinds of malaria, P. vivax and P. ovale, can relapse; some parasites can rest in the liver for several months up to 4 years after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. When these parasites come out of hibernation and begin invading red blood cells, the person will become sick. Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, can cause kidney failure, coma and death.
Malaria is diagnosed by a chromatographic test kit or by looking for the parasites in a drop of blood on a microscope slide. Anyone who becomes ill with a fever or flu-like illness while travelling and up to 1 year after returning home should seek prompt medical care. You should tell your doctor that you have been travelling in a malaria area.
Malaria can be cured with quinine and several other drugs. The choice of medication depends on where you were infected and by which strain.
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to Malaria. Visit your health doctor at least 4 weeks before foreign travel for a prescription for malaria prophylactics.It is important to take prophylactics on schedule and without missing doses.
Prevent mosquito and other insect bites. Use insect repellent on exposed skin, wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts, especially from dusk to dawn. This is the time when mosquitoes that spread malaria bite. Sleep under a mosquito net treated with insecticide.