The CDC has recently issued a Level 2 Malaria Alert for 3 provinces of SA where transmission of the disease does not commonly occur. Cases were reported in Thabazimbi and Lephalale in Limpopo Province; Swartruggens, North West Province, and the Doornpoort neighborhood north of Pretoria in Gauteng.
It is recommended that travelers to the western Waterberg district of Limpopo Province take prescription medicine to help prevent malaria. Medicine to help prevent malaria is not recommended for travelers to North West and Gauteng provinces; however, these travelers should continue to take normal precautions to avoid mosquito bites, including covering exposed skin, using insect repellent, and sleeping in accommodations that are not exposed to the outdoors.
Practice Enhanced Precautions
What can travelers do to prevent malaria?
Travelers can protect themselves from malaria by taking certain prescription medicine, if recommended by a health care provider, and by preventing mosquito bites.
Prevent mosquito bites:
Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
Use an EPA-registered insect repellent as directed. If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen first, allow it to dry, then apply insect repellent. Follow package directions when applying repellent on children. Avoid applying repellent to their hands, eyes, and mouth. Higher percentages of active ingredient provide longer protection. Use products with the following active ingredients:
- Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
- Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
- 2-undecanone (methyl nonyl ketone)
Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). You can buy pre-treated clothing and gear or treat them yourself. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washes. See the product information to find out how long the protection will last. If treating items yourself, follow the product instructions carefully. Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
Stay and sleep in screened-in or air-conditioned rooms. Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.
If you feel sick and think you may have malaria:
- Talk to a health care provider immediately if you feel seriously ill, especially if you have a fever up to 1 year after travel.
- Tell your health care provider about your travel.
- For more information about medical care abroad, see Getting Health Care Abroad
- Take steps to avoid additional mosquito bites to help further spread of the disease