Malaria

Malaria is an infectious disease that is characterised by cycles of chills, fevers and sweating.1

Malaria is spread by bite of the female Anopheles mosquito which bites mainly between sunset and sunrise.1,2  When they bite they inject a parasite that causes malaria.1,2 

The early symptoms may be similar to the flu but these symptoms can quickly become more severe.  If you notice any of these symptoms, anywhere from 7 days to 3 months, after being in a malaria area you should talk to your doctor, travel medicine specialist or visit a medical clinic.1,2  Prompt treatment could mean the difference between life and death because people can become very ill quickly.1,2

The best malaria prevention is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito AND taking anti-malaria medicines.  It should be remembered that no anti-malaria medicine is 100% effective which is why avoiding being bitten is important.1

Being aware of the countries that have malaria will help you prepare for your trip and take safety measures when visiting these locations. There are a number of anti-malaria medicines available and they have different dosing schedules.  It is important that you take the medication as instructed.  You need to speak with your doctor or travel medicine specialist about which medicine is right for you.

Malaria FAQs

  • Malaria - What is it?

    Malaria is an infectious disease that is characterised by cycles of chills, fevers and sweating.1  It is common throughout many tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.1,2  There are a large number of popular tourist destinations in which malaria is common, including the Middle East, Indian subcontinent, South East Asia, Central and South America and even parts of Eastern Europe.1,2 If left untreated the infection can cause serious illness or worse, death.1  The risk of infection varies from one region to the next, and can even depend on the season of travel, the type of accommodation and the style of travel (backpacking versus hotels or guided tours).2

  • Malaria - How can it be prevented?

    The best malaria prevention is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito AND taking anti-malaria medicines.  It should be remembered that no anti-malaria medicine is 100% effective which is why avoiding being bitten is also important.1

    Being aware of the countries that have malaria will help you prepare for your trip and take safety measures when visiting these locations.

    Non-pharmaceutical prevention

    The most effective way of preventing malaria is to not get bitten by the mosquito in the first place.1,2  Anopheles mosquitoes are more active between sunset and sunrise, which is when you need to cover-up bare areas of skin particularly the ankles and wrists.3  Wear long-sleeved, long-legged, loose-fitting clothing (light colour is better than dark); dark colours retain the body warmth and body gases that insects are attracted to.3

    Use reliable insect repellents (preferably a product containing DEET).3  Icaridin is also an effective repellent and can be used as an alternative to DEET.1,3  Apply these as recommended by the manufacturer.  Sunscreen should be applied first before applying insect repellent.2  At night you should sleep under a mosquito net.2,3

    Pharmaceutical prevention

    There are a number of anti-malaria medicines available and they have different dosing schedules.  It is important that you take the medication as instructed.  You need to speak with your doctor or travel medicine specialist about which medicine is right for you.

    One medicine is Malarone® which is a fixed combination of two medicines (atovaquone and proguanil) in one tablet and is used as both a preventative and a treatment for malaria.  If Malarone is used as a preventer it cannot be used as a treatment for malaria.  People travelling for some time may consider taking one pack of Malarone as a treatment pack as well as a different preventer medicine.2  The treatment pack should only be used if a diagnosis of malaria is confirmed by a doctor or clinic.  Talk to your doctor or travel medicine specialist if a treatment pack is right for you and how you should use it.

    Malarone Junior can be used in children weighing over 11kg to protect them against malaria.  The tablets are taken once a day preferably with food or a milky drink.  If your child is unable to swallow tablets they can be crushed and sprinkled on food or mixed in a milky drink.4  Talk to your doctor or travel medicine specialist to see if Malarone Junior is right for your child.

  • Malaria - What are the symptoms?

    No anti-malaria medicine is 100% effective so it is important you recognise the symptoms.1,2  The early symptoms may be similar to the flu but these symptoms can quickly become more severe. The symptoms include:1

    • High fevers with chills
    • Shakes, heavy sweats, coughing
    • Very cold clammy skin
    • Muscle, join or bone aches
    • Diarrhoea with or without vomiting
    • Dark-red or black urine
    • Stomach pains

    If you notice any of these symptoms, anywhere from 7 days to 3 months, after being in a malaria area you should talk to your doctor, travel medicine specialist or visit a medical clinic.1,2  Prompt treatment could mean the difference between life and death because people can become very ill quickly.1,2

  • Malaria - How is it spread?

    Malaria is spread by bite of the female Anopheles mosquito which bites mainly between sunset and sunrise.1,2  When they bite they inject a parasite that causes malaria.1,2  Even though there is no obvious reaction to a bite it does not mean there has been “no bite”.  As people age, they tend to have increasingly delayed reactions to insect bites. Newborn infants (because they have not previously been bitten) do not react at all, 4 to 6-year-olds may take 1-2 hours to react, and adults in their 20s may take a couple of days.3

? Did you know

A Quick Question…

You are leaving the GlaxoSmithKline New Zealand website.

Links to other websites are inserted for your convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service. Any information provided by this source should be discussed with your healthcare professional and does not replace their advice.

Downloading App Data

Please wait while, the cache is populated

0%