Planning a holiday drip to Africa is key, in order to prevent a malaria infection. Malaria is an infectious blood disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquito.
91% of deaths occur in Africa, with one child dying every minute, but Malaria deaths have fallen by more than 25% since 2000, the latest study reveals. The good news is that malaria is not only preventable, but also treatable, if travellers obey the most important rules, in order to stay save.
After booking his flight to Ghana, in West Africa, Thomas K. from Coventry, had to not only applied for a Visa at the Ghanaian Embassy*, but also received a Yellow Fever Vaccination at his GP.
“My next step was to get the latest advice in Malaria prevention”, he explains.
“I checked the website of the NHS and the CDC to get national and international advice, by doing so I felt quit prepared. During my fortnight stay, I travel from the capital Accra to Cape Coast and then to Kumasi.
Despite the heat I wore long sleeved, light coloured shirts and every day I put mosquito repellent on my whole body, to keep the little creatures at bay.”
At night he slept under a mosquito net, which was treated with an anti – malaria drug.
“I did not take any anti malaria prophylaxes, as there is a risk of delaying or masking symptoms in case of a malaria infection.”
Before returning home Thomas had his blood checked at the Kumasi South Hospital, to see if there were any signs of malaria in his bloodstream.
“It only took about five minutes to get the results. The nurse took a drop of blood of my thumb and transferred it onto a dipstick,” he remembers. Luckily the test results came back negative.
The Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDTs) is a test that allows a quick diagnosis of malaria.
In case of an infection patients need a prompt treatment. Chloroquine based medicine, in form of a juice for children or a tablet for adults is the most common form of treatment. If early detected, patients get a single dose, but they need to be retested for Malaria after 10 days.
In more advanced stages of the Malaria infection, a hospital stay is highly possible as the symptoms worsen after just a couple of days, without treatment.
Malaria symptoms, which often appear about 9 to 14 days after the infectious mosquito bite, include fever, headache, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. If drugs are not available or the parasites are resistant to them, the infection can lead to coma, life-threatening anaemia, and death.
- Malaria is causes by a female mosquito that bites at night
- 655,000 people died of malaria in 2010
- The most deadly malaria is plasmodium falciparum
- Malaria costs Africa $12 billion annually
- World Malaria Day is April 25th (and my youngest dauthers birthday 😉 )
- In Africa, 40% of health resources are used to treat malaria
If you plan to travel soon, please speak to your GP or medical doctor.
(*most tourists need to apply for a visa).
Please Like & Share
All the Best,