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South African Family Practice

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Prophylaxis - A key component in malaria control

RL Van Zyl

Abstract


With the summer holidays fast approaching, holidaymakers will be planning their trip across Africa and the globe. Patients need to be aware of the risks of mosquito bites and contracting malaria. Malaria is endemic in the  Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Northern KwaZulu-Natal provinces, with several cases of travel or Odyssean malaria being reported around South Africa. Prophylaxis is key in reducing the risk of infection by malaria. The use of insect repellents, correct clothing, bed nets and environmental control,
complemented with chemoprophylaxis will greatly reduce this risk. The current South African guidelines to prevent a malaria infection include atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline and mefloquine, with the latter drug recommended during pregnancy and when breast-feeding. Patients should be cautioned that despite implementing preventative measures, they should seek immediate medical attention if they develop ‘flu-like’ symptoms or a fever when returning from a malaria area. Appropriate prophylactic measures are key components in preventing a malaria  infection and can be life-saving.


Keywords: malaria, prophylaxis, Anopheles, insecticides, South Africa




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