Safari Club International members are quite extensive travelers. Whether hunting sheep in the high mountains of New Zealand or hunting the big five in Africa, our members go where the hunting is best. With such wide-ranging travel come a variety of hidden dangers associated with these exotic destinations. Malaria is one of the most frequent illnesses encountered by world travelers. Found primarily in Africa, Southern Asia and Central and South America, malaria is caused by a bite from a parasite-infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever, chills, sweats, body aches and muscle pain. Left undiagnosed or untreated it can be fatal. SCI partners, Global Rescue spoke with their African Regional Medical Director, Dr. Phil Seidenberg for more information on this disease and the most common questions he is asked regarding travel to malarial areas.
- How do I know if malaria is an issue where I’m traveling?
Resources for information on malaria outbreaks or risks are available through the Center for Disease Control or the World Health Organization. Both offer maps indicating malaria risk levels by country. Global Rescue members can contact Global Rescue directly for more detailed information and advice.
- Who is at highest risk?
Anyone who is not a native of the region has a higher risk of contracting malaria, however children, elderly travelers and women who are pregnant are typically at the highest risk.
- Is there a medicine I should take before traveling to an area that has a history of malaria outbreaks?
While there are a few anti-malarial preventative medications that can be taken, it is important to note that none of them are 100% effective. Seek the advice of your family doctor or healthcare provider to determine the best match for your individual health profile.
- What other steps can I take to protect against malaria?
Wearing long sleeves shirts, long pants and using a DEET repellant to keep mosquitoes away is always helpful. Sleep under mosquito netting, preferably those treated with an insecticide. Most countries will have mosquito nets in stores and supermarkets, but if you are concerned about availability, purchase one or more before you travel.
- What do I do if I’m traveling and think I may have malaria?
The absolute first thing to do is seek medical help. While most countries that have malaria issues have Rapid Diagnostic Tests available in pharmacies to determine whether or not you have malaria, the safest bet is to go to a local hospital or clinic for a complete diagnosis. Global Rescue members can contact Global Rescue for recommendations for medical facilities in the area they are traveling.