According to the World Health Organization (WHO) approximately 40% of the world's population, a total of some 2,400 million people, in more than 90 countries live with the constant threat of contracting malaria. Malaria is transmitted exclusively through the bites of Anopheles mosquitoes. The disease is caused by a parasite called plasomodium which is carried by the mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. The first symptoms of malaria are fever, headache, chills and vomiting. In the initial stages, these symptoms may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. These symptoms usually appear between 10 and 15 days after a mosquito's bite. Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces the severity of the disease and can help prevent death.
Prevention is still better today than a cure. Non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get exposed to the parasite. If you are travelling to the tropics therefore, there are ways in which you can reduce your chances of contracting the disease.
A few precautions
o Take prophylaxis. Malarone is the most famous prophylaxis taken in Germany.
o No antimalarial drug is 100% protective, therefore it would be advisable to combine its use with the use of personal protective measures, for example insect repellent oils, wearing long sleeves, long pants and sleeping under a mosquito net.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Malaria is always a serious disease and can be fatal. Travellers who become ill with a fever or demonstrate flu-like symptoms either while travelling in a malaria-risk area or after returning home (for up to 1 year), they should seek immediate medical attention and should tell their physician their travel history.