What is Malaria?
Malaria is caused by a parasite which is transmitted to humans by bites from an infected Anopheles mosquito.
Mosquitoes breed is hot climates where there is standing water in which their larval stage lives. Malaria occurs in tropical or sub-tropical countries - click here to display world map of regions at risk from Malaria.
There are different strains of malaria, which vary in severity, however the most common strain can be fatal.
Each year about 2000 travellers bring malaria into the UK and about 10 to 12 of them die. Worldwide, there are about two million deaths annually.
Malaria is both preventable and curable. Before travelling it is important to check with your GP or traveler clinic 4-6 weeks before travelling for up to date advice on anti-malarial medication to ensure enough time to start taking treatment before travelling.
Tips for prevention
It is essential you take steps to avoid mosquito bites. The most obvious preventative measure is to protect yourself with a highly effective insect repellent such as Autan Active range which should be applied to all exposed skin and to clothing. You should also wear light coloured clothing, use mosquito nets and insecticides at night and avoid stagnant water especially at dusk.
There is no vaccine currently available, however there are several types of anti-malarial drugs. Taking an appropriate anti-malarial drug regimen and using anti-mosquito measures will help prevent malaria. However, no anti-malarial drug provides 100% protection, therefore your first line of defence should be to avoid being bitten by using an effective insect repellent and taking other preventable measures, click here for tips for prevention
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea may also occur. Malaria may also cause anaemia and jaundice (yellow colouring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. Malaria is potentially life-threatening, if not immediately treated. Complications of untreated malaria include mental confusion, seizures, coma, kidney failure, and death. Malaria symptoms can develop as early as 6 days after initial exposure in a malaria-endemic area and as late as several months after departure from a malarious area.
If you experience any fever illness after leaving an endemic area contact your doctor immediately.
Prevention is better than cure for insect borne diseases so always apply your Autan Insect Repellent before going out to make sure that you and your family are properly protected!