The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has warned that the number of malaria cases is expected to rise in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal due to an influx of travelers during the Easter holidays. In a statement released on Tuesday, the NICD said another cause of the increase was the recent widespread rainfall across southern Africa.
“All residents and travelers to and from malaria transmission areas in Mopani and Vhembe districts of Limpopo, Thabazimbi and Lephalale areas remain at risk. Other areas of high transmission risk include the Lowveld of Mpumalanga, including the Kruger National Park and surrounds, and the northern KZN-Mozambique border,” the NICD said.
It also advised travelers 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.
“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,” the NICD said.
Travelers have been warned to look out for malaria symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches and general malaise, and to report to their nearest health facility if they suspect that they may have contracted malaria.