Travel Health Advice - Malaria
What is it? Malaria is a class of parasitic disease widely present in over 100 countries, mostly tropical and sub-tropical, affecting up to 400 million people per year. The disease incubates for seven days to three months and initially causes symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, muscular aching and weakness, vomiting, cough, diarrhoea and abdominal pain. Early diagnosis and treatment can be life-saving. How is it transmitted? By mosquito bite, most common at sunrise and sunset, and during the night. Where is it present? Worldwide, but mostly endemic areas in Latin America, Caribbean, Asia and the Mediterranean region. Level of risk? Extremely variable depending on location and season; even within an endemic zone, a city might be malaria free, while suburbs not. There is less risk at altitudes over 1,500 metres. Pregnant women, young children and elderly travellers are particularly at risk. What can I do to prevent getting it? Take a malaria prophylactic before and during the trip. Certain drugs are appropriate for certain areas - ensure you receive proper medical advice. Avoid mosquito bites. Use insect repellent. Treatment? Varies widely according to where malaria was contracted, what form, and whether prophylaxis was taken.