KNP warns visitors, Lowvelders against malaria

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SKUKUZA – Visitors to the Kruger National Park (KNP) and residents of the Onderberg are urged to take precautionary measures against malaria.

Several cases have recently been reported throughout the Lowveld region, and with wet and humid conditions increasing as we head into summer, the risk of contracting malaria is also on the rise.

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Although malaria can be contracted at any time of the year, peak season is October to April.

Malaria is a disease transmitted through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. It could take 12 to 35 days for symptoms to appear.

Most types of mosquito do not carry the malaria parasite, which means that not every bite is dangerous.

Symptoms of malaria include:

• fever
• chills
• sweating
• headaches
• body aches
• stomach problems such as loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea

Severe symptoms include confusion, hallucinations and seizures.

Mosquitoes most often bite between dusk and dawn. Make sure you spray any exposed skin (especially ankles) with insect repellent or wear long-sleeved clothing when outdoors.

Mosquito-repellent coils, plug-in diffusers, netting and switching on air conditioners can also help keep mosquitoes at bay indoors.

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KNP Management advised visitors to also look at other precautionary measures such as malaria prophylactic medication, but warned them to consult with a doctor and consider the drug’s possible side-effects.

The medication does not guarantee a malaria-free visit, it just decreases the risk of contracting it.

Guests were encouraged to keep window gauzes and doors closed at all times and check that it is not broken and ensure that air conditioners are fully functional.

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Visitors who have contracted malaria after a trip to the KNP are urged to contact the doctors in Skukuza to assist in recording and identifying affected areas.

For more information on malaria precautions and other medical advice, contact the Skukuza doctors on
013-735-5638.

  AUTHOR
Retha Nel

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