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MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS

There are a number of different types of anti-malaria tablets available. Choosing one depends upon the particular area being visited and the travellerís medical history.

Mefloquine
Mefloquine is taken once a week. This should be commenced at least one week before entering the malaria, weekly while in the malaria area and continued for four weeks after leaving the malaria area. Mefloquine is best taken after a meal and with liquids. Mefloquine is not suited for persons with epilepsy, certain heart problems and depression.

Doxycycline
Doxycycline is taken once a day, starting two days before entering a malaria area, daily while in the malaria area and for four weeks after leaving the malaria area. The drug should be taken after a meal, and washed down with plenty of fluids. It should be avoided in pregnancy and children under the age of 8.

Atovaquone-proguanil
Atovaquone-proguanil is taken once a day, starting one to two days before entering a malaria area, daily while in the malaria area and for seven days after leaving the malaria area.

  • No method of malaria prevention is one hundred per cent effective, and there is a small chance of contracting malaria despite the taking of anti-malaria medication and the adoption of personal protection methods. This does not mean that malaria medication and personal protection measures should be neglected, as they greatly reduce your risk of getting malaria.

  • Any traveller developing possible symptoms of malaria should seek medical advice despite having taken the prescribed precautions.

Why is Malaria Dangerous
Most of the malaria found within South Africa is caused by Plasmodium falciparum. It is potentially the most dangerous type of malaria, and can prove rapidly fatal.
Symptoms may develop as soon as seven days after entering a malaria area and as long as six months after leaving a malaria area. Symptoms of malaria can be mild in the initial stages, resembling influenza.

In a recent study on Medical Malaria Emergency Evacuations by Air Ambulance out of the rest of Africa to our shores only 2% of the victims where taking any prophylaxis.