Malaria is a tropical disease spread by mosquitoes, which can cause fever, headache and in severe cases, coma or death. The risk of contracting malaria in affected areas is significant. Approximately 1,500 travellers return to the UK with malaria every year. In 2008, there were 1,370 cases of malaria reported among UK travellers, including six deaths.
Malaria is a large worldwide problem. The World Health Organization estimates that there were 243 million cases and nearly 1 million deaths from malaria in 2008.
Many cases of malaria can be prevented by the ABCD approach:
- Awareness of risk: know your risk of malaria.
- Bite prevention: avoid bites as much as possible.
- Chemoprophylaxis: take the right antimalarial tablets.
- Diagnosis: get immediate medical help for symptoms.
Signs and symptoms
Typical symptoms of malaria include shivering, fever, joint pain, vomiting, jaundice and convulsions. The classic symptom of malaria is a sudden coldness followed by fever and sweating.
In severe cases, malaria can progress extremely rapidly and induce a coma and even death within hours or days.
Young children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable to the disease.
If you are travelling to an area with a risk of malaria you may be recommended to take antimalarial tablets to prevent you from becoming infected. Be sure to also use repellent and mosquito nets to increase your level of safety. There are a range of different antimalarial tablets that will be prescribed to travellers based on several factors, including: destination, medical history, family history, current medications, previous problems with anti-malarial tablets, age, and pregnancy. Being aware of your risk is a huge factor in protecting yourself from the disease, so be sure to speak to one of us while planning your trip.
For more advice on Malaria click here
Personal protection measures during travel
- Be aware of the risk.
- Try to avoid areas known to be heavily infested.
When travelling in areas with malaria it is advisable to wear loose-fitting clothes with long trousers and long sleeves in the evenings. Travellers to areas with a risk of dengue fever infection should cover up during the day if possible, as the Aedes spp. mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever bite during the day.
In tick-infested areas, trousers should be tucked into socks to prevent ticks from crawling up the legs. Avoid dark blue clothing when travelling in Africa in areas where tsetse flies exist.
Clothing can be treated with an insecticide (e.g. permethrin), which kills insects, including ticks, on contact. Permethrin is available in formulations designed to be sprayed on to clothing.
Insect repellent: General information
N, N-diethylmetatoluamide (DEET) based repellents are seen to be the most effective, they have been widely tested under field conditions, and have been used for more than 50 years. DEET is available in several concentrations all available in store at a 10% discount if purchased alongside a travel vaccination. Concentrations of 20% have been shown to offer protection for 1-3 hours, and higher concentrations provide longer-lasting protection.
DEET-containing preparations should not be used in babies younger than 2 months of age. They can be used in concentrations up to 50% in pregnant or breast-feeding women, and in infants and children older than 2 months. Manufacturers in the UK have applied their own age restrictions, however, there is no evidence that using DEET on infants and children older than 2 months causes harm. Care should be taken to ensure that repellents are not ingested, and that they do not come into contact with the eyes or mouth.
Repellents should be reapplied at regular intervals, after swimming and in hot, humid conditions when they may be removed by perspiration. When both sunscreens and repellents are used, the repellent should be applied over sunscreen.
Research and extensive clinical experience indicate that DEET is very safe when used according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Insect repellent: Advice for travellers
- Use only on exposed areas of skin.
- Remove with soap and water when the repellent is no longer needed.
- Do not spray directly on the face, and wash hands after application to avoid contact with lips and eyes.
- Do not apply to cuts, abrasions or irritated skin.
- Sunscreen that is combined with repellent should usually be avoided.
- Picaridin (Autan®) and lemon eucalyptus extract (Mosiguard®) are available for those who prefer not to use DEET-based products. These repellents have compared favourably with DEET. Picaridin should be used in concentrations of approximately 20%.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions when applying repellents to babies and infants.
Bush Pharmacy Malaria Prevention Service
We can provide all antimalarials without the need of a doctors prescription and can do so at a heavily discounted price.
Antimalarials available are:
- Malarone Paediatric