Malaria is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites, which if not treated can be fatal. The risk of contracting malaria is high in affected countries. In 2012 World Health Organisation states there were 207 million cases of malaria and 627, 000 deaths. In the UK there were about 1400 travellers diagnosed with malaria year, two of which died.
Symptoms usually appear seven to 18 after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but in some cases symptoms may not appear for a year or even longer. These include a high temperature, sweats, chills, shivering, headaches, vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhoea, jaundice and convulsions.In rare cases malaria can also affect the brain causing permanent brain damage, seizures and coma. Babies, young children, pregnant women and the elderly are more vulnerable to the disease. It is important to be aware of the symptoms malaria if you are travelling to a high risk area.
Countries at risk
Malaria is found throughout the world in more than a 100 countries, mainly tropical regions. These include most of Africa and Asia, central and South America, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, areas of the Middle East, and some Pacific islands.
Advice for travellers
The risk of contracting malaria is significant it to travel to a high risk area and it very important you take precautions to prevent it. Many cases of malaria can be prevented by taking the ABCD approach:
Awareness of risk – find out whether you are at risk of getting malaria.
Bite prevention – avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, covering your arms and legs and using a mosquito net.
Check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets – if you do, make sure you take the right antimalarial tablets at the right dose, and finish the course.
Diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you have malaria symptoms, including up to a year after you return from travelling.
It is not possible to avoid mosquito bites completely but the less you are bitten, the less likely you are to get malaria.
To avoid being bitten:
Stay somewhere that has effective air conditioning and screening on doors and windows. If this is not possible, make sure that doors and windows close properly.
If you are not sleeping in an air-conditioned room, sleep under an intact mosquito net that has been treated with insecticide.
Use insect repellent on your skin and in sleeping environments. Remember to re-apply it frequently. The most effective repellents contain DEET (diethyltoluamide) and are available in sprays, roll-ons, sticks and creams.
Wear light loose-fitting trousers rather than shorts, and wear shirts with long sleeves. This is particularly important during early evening and at night, when mosquitoes prefer to feed.
Prevention: There is no vaccination available for that protects against malaria, so it’s very important to take antimalarial tablets to reduce the risk of infection if you are travelling to an affected area. There are different tablets available depending on the destination, medical history, current medications, age and pregnancy. We will make sure you receive the right antimalarial. Make sure you follow the instructions carefully and continue to take your tablets after the trip to cover the incubation period. If you develop symptoms of malaria on your trip, or after you come back seek medical help, even if you have been taking your tablets.
Number of doses
Depends on country to be visited and drug chosen. Tablets need to be taken 1-2 days before the trip, during the trip and between 7 and 28 days after.
Medication available includes: Doxycycline, Malarone (atovaqoune and proguanil) and Larium (mefloquine)
Meningitis ACWY For Hajj/Umrah
Meningitis symptoms can develop quickly and they can be difficult to spot as they as similar to symptoms of flu. Infection with meningitis is an emergency and requires admission into a hospital where you will be given antibiotics. All pilgrims to Saudi Arabia for Hajj or Umrah are required to show proof of vaccination in the last three years against meningitis ACWY.
Vaccination is required at least 10 days before you are due to travel and you will also receive a certificate as part of your vaccination.