Feb 2006

Health - Malaria preys on children

Protection against malaria

As many people were enjoying their holidays with family and friends, some landed up in hospitals aroundLimpopo and Gauteng being treated for the deadly disease - malaria. Those admitted into Gautenghospitals had visited Limpopo and Mozambique areas during the festive season.  

Most Frequently Asked Question About malaria. 

What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious killer disease caused by a parasite. The parasite enters human-beings through female mosquitoes called Anopheles .

Is malaria a seriousdisease?
Yes. Malaria is a leading cause of death and diseases worldwide, especially in developing countries likeAfrica. Most deaths occur in children. Patients with malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, colds and flu-like illness, headache muscle aches and tiredness. Vomiting and diarrhea may occur. Malaria may also cause yellow skin and eyes because of lack of red blood cells. If not treated it may cause kidney failure, mental confusion, coma and death.  

How is malaria transmitted?
Usually, people get malaria by being bitten by an infected female mosquito.  

How to prevent malaria?
People traveling to areas with malaria transmission should protect themselves by taking an anti-malaria drug and preventing mosquito bites especially at night. People should fix leaking water pipes, cut lawns and get rid of running water to avoid mosquitoes. Spray insecticides on your home walls to kill adult mosquitoes, wear long-sleeved clothing if outdoors at night, and take anti-malaria drugs to kill parasites.  

What is the treatment for malaria?
Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs from doctors, clinics and hospitals. 

What to do before visiting a malaria area?
Visit a health provider at least 4-6 weeks before the time of the trip. 

Where does malaria occur?
The disease is mainly transmitted in the lowveld regions of Mpumalanga, the northern eastern parts ofKwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo. Malaria is mostly found in warmer regions as Anopheles mosquito enjoy higher temperatures.

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