KNP is known to be one of the malaria-endemic areas in the country and there is always a chance of contracting malaria here.
Skukuza Medical Practice has noticed an increase in the number of malaria diagnoses in the Kruger National Park (KNP) since late September this year, and therefore advises all travellers to protect themselves by taking medication while visiting the park. “Your family physician will be able to advise you on the most suitable medication,” said Dr Nardus Visser.
“KNP is known to be one of the malaria-endemic areas in the country and there is always a chance of contracting malaria here, though it does not happen often,” said the general manager of communications and marketing, William Mabasa.
The Kruger is one of the two South African National Parks that are situated in malaria risk areas. “It is important to note that the risk is usually low, even in the summer months,” said Visser.
Mabasa further noted, “Although it can be contracted at any time of the year, the malaria season in SA is October to April, with March and April being the highest risk period. We request visitors who contract malaria after having visited the park to assist us by immediately reporting it to our local doctors in Skukuza, as this can assist in recording and identifying all the affected areas in need of attention.”
Visser further explained that malaria is a mosquito-borne disease transmitted exclusively through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito. “Following the bite of an infected mosquito, an individual may remain asymptomatic for 12 to 35 days, depending on the type of malaria. This is known as the incubation period. Malaria should be suspected in patients with any unexplained fever after visiting an area where malaria is endemic,” he said.
He added that the symptoms of malaria include:
- Body aches
Other symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Belly pain
- Skin that appears yellow, called “jaundice”
- Fast heart rate or breathing.