Management at Kruger National Park is advising visitors to the Park about the risk of malaria and precautionary measures to be taken. Although there is some risk throughout the year, the annual high malaria season (September to May) has started, and above-average numbers of cases have been reported from areas surrounding the Park in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.
In addition, unusual malaria cases, affecting persons with no recent history of travel to malaria transmission areas, have been reported in Kilner Park, Pretoria (four patients), and Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni (two patients). Unfortunately, one patient has demised.
It is most likely that Anopheles malaria vector mosquitoes, which had been accidentally transported by vehicles from malaria areas, were responsible. This form of disease is called odyssean malaria, also known as airport, suitcase, minibus, or taxi-rank malaria. It is a very rare condition: since 2007, only 71 such cases have been recorded in South Africa, mostly in Gauteng Province.
Precautionary measures are the prevention of mosquito bites between dusk and dawn by using insect repellents containing DEET applied to exposed skin, wearing long sleeves and trousers, burning mosquito coils, using of fans and air-conditioning, and keeping window and door screens closed. The addition of prophylactic medication for visitors should be strongly considered, in consultation with healthcare practitioners.
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