Malaria

Precautions may be necessary if you are planning to travel to other parts of the country or neighboring countries.

Information on Malaria The South African National Travel Health Network

Malaria

  • Malaria risk mainly due to P. falciparum exists in certain parts of South Africa and bordering countries
  • Malaria is distinctly seasonal in Southern Africa and predominantly occurs during the rainy months between September and May, with January to April being periods of high transmission.
  • While the Kruger National Park does fall in the malaria risk area, the transmission risk would be considered low to moderate, depending on the specific camps visited for overnight stays.

Malaria precautions

Personal protection against mosquito bites should be the focus of malaria prevention.
Measures to prevent mosquito bites include:

  • Wearing long pants and socks
  • Applying topical mosquito repellants to exposed skin areas that contain at least 20% DEET
  • Burning of coils for repelling mosquitoes
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets treated with long-lasting insecticide when in high transmission areas
  • Use of air- conditioning and fans where available
  • Staying in dwellings with screened windows and doors
  • The use of preventative medication can be considered on an individual traveler basis. Please check with your doctor about suitable antimalarial tablets.

The occurrence of an acute febrile/ flu-like illness in the month after return must prompt an urgent malaria blood test and follow up of results.

Malaria Advisory 2018 by:

The South African National Travel Health Network

It is important for travelers visiting any of the malaria areas within Southern Africa and elsewhere to take appropriate precautions and maintain a high index of suspicion for symptoms of malaria on their return.

The occurrence of an acute febrile/ flu-like illness in the month after return must prompt an urgent malaria blood test and follow up of results. The use of preventative medication can be considered on an individual traveler basis.

The areas of transmission of malaria in South Africa are:

  • Northeastern parts of Limpopo (along the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe)
  • The lowveld areas of Mpumalanga (including the Kruger National Park but excluding Mbombela and immediate surrounds)
  • Far northern parts of Kwa-Zulu Natal see map
  • While the Kruger National Park does fall in the malaria risk area, the transmission risk would be considered low to moderate, depending on the specific camps visited for overnight stays. Personal protection against mosquito bites should be the focus of malaria prevention.
  • The Mopani district in Limpopo is an area of known high transmission and has recently experienced an upsurge of malaria cases but the number of cases decreased as the temperatures came down.
  • In Kwa-Zulu Natal, Richards Bay and St Lucia are NOT considered malaria transmission areas.
  • In Mpumalanga, the towns of White River, Nelspruit and Sabie are NOT considered malaria transmission areas.

With respect to the neighboring countries, malaria is present in the following areas:

  • Mozambique and Zambia have high malaria transmission throughout the country. Mozambique would be especially considered a high transmission area for malaria at this time of the year. The majority of malaria cases treated in South Africa have a history of travel to Mozambique so preventative measures should include both prevention of mosquito bites and preventative medication.
  • Zimbabwe, including the Victoria Falls, is a high transmission area except for Bulawayo, Harare and Gweru and their immediate surrounds.
  • Malawi and the area around Lake Malawi are high transmission areas.
  • Botswana has transmission in the central and northwest districts including the Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta but there is no malaria transmission in any of the major cities in Botswana.
  • In Namibia, malaria is present in the regions of Kavango (East and West), Kunene, Ohangwena, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa, and Zambezi and there is no malaria transmission in Windhoek.
  • Malaria control in Swaziland has resulted in a major decrease in local cases and there are very limited foci of malaria transmission in the lowveld area in the east of the country bordering Mozambique.

Directories of travel clinics

Global:
England, Wales, Northern Ireland
International Society of Travel Medicine

South Africa: Travel doctor SA
SASTM Office Phone: +27 (0)11 025 3297 Enquiries: admin@sastm.org.za