Malaria transmission is ongoing in South Africa and its neighbouring countries. The number of malaria cases is expected to rise as a result of travel during the Easter holidays, and the recent widespread rainfall across southern Africa. The highest malaria transmission in the region would be found in Mozambique, however, with a slightly lower risk in the very far south of Mozambique.
All residents and travellers to and from malaria transmission areas (in South Africa this includes the north-eastern parts, covering Mopani and Vhembe districts of Limpopo Province. The Waterberg district of Limpopo and surrounds has low risk with occasional cases. Other areas of high transmission risk include the lowveld of Mpumalanga Province, including the Kruger National Park and surrounds, and the northern KwaZulu-Natal Province-Mozambique border.
Travellers to high transmission areas in South Africa, as well as to the neighbouring countries, are advised to take precautions against being bitten by mosquitoes through the meticulous use of repellents containing DEET, covering bare skin after dark if outside, closing insect screens on doors and windows, and using fans or air conditioners, if available.
Travellers can also consult their doctors, clinics or pharmacists for anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis. Current recommended chemoprophylactic medications include doxycycline or atovaquone-proguanil, which are available without prescription, but the healthcare worker needs to advise the best option for each individual. It should be noted that whilst these medications are very good at preventing malaria, they are not 100% effective.
All travellers, whether travelling to low- or high-risk areas, are advised to be aware of the malaria symptoms of fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches and general malaise, and to report to their nearest health facility or doctor if they suspect that they may have contracted malaria, even if they have used the preventive measures listed above.
Communicated by: National Institute for Communicable Diseases
11 April 2018