1. What is malaria and how is it transmitted?
Malaria is a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions including parts of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Common symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and vomiting which typically manifest a week or more after being bitten by an infected mosquito. If not treated promptly, malaria can become severe and can be life-threatening.
2. Why is malaria prevention important for certain travellers?
Malaria prevention is vital for travelers visiting endemic areas as malaria can be severe or even fatal. Preventive measures include the use of anti-malarial drugs, insect repellent, long-sleeved clothing, and bed nets impregnated with insecticides.
3. What is the effectiveness of anti-malarial drugs?
Anti-malarial drugs, if taken correctly, are highly effective at preventing the disease. However, the type of medication and the regimen will depend on several factors, including the specific area to be visited, the duration of exposure, the traveler's medical history, and existing health conditions.
4. Are there any side effects or risks associated with anti-malarial drugs?
Side effects of anti-malarial drugs can vary depending on the medication. Common side effects can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and headache. Some types of anti-malarial medication can cause more serious side effects, such as neuropsychiatric effects. It's important to discuss potential side effects with a healthcare provider before starting any medication.
5. Are there certain individuals who should NOT take anti-malarial drugs?
Yes, certain individuals should not take specific anti-malarial drugs due to potential adverse effects. For example, certain drugs should not be taken by individuals with particular health conditions, those who are pregnant, or those with known allergies to the medication. Medical consultation is necessary before starting prophylaxis.
6. What precautions can individuals who cannot take anti-malarial drugs take?
If you are not sure whether you should take anti-malarial drugs, consult with a travel medicine specialist or another healthcare provider. For those who can't take anti-malarial drugs, other preventive measures such as using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net, can help reduce the risk of infection.
For more detailed information on Malaria, please see The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) page at