Malaria protection measures used by in-flight travelers to South African game parks.J Travel Med. 1999 Dec; 6(4):254-7.JT
Malaria prevention in travelers depends upon dissemination of accurate information about malaria risk, prevention of mosquito bites, appropriate chemoprophylaxis use and knowledge of the symptoms of malaria. A study was undertaken of travelers to the Kruger National Park and private game parks in Mpumalanga Province, South Africa to investigate travelers knowledge, of malaria, chemoprophylaxis use, and experience of adverse events. In-flight self administered questionnaires were distributed and completed by travelers on flights returning to Johannesburg International Airport, from the malaria areas. The study was conducted during the highest malaria risk period during 1996. The Mpumalanga game parks are those most visited in South Africa and are found in the extreme northeast of the country, which adjoins Mozambique in the east and Zimbabwe in the north. This area is classified by the South African health authorities as being a high risk Malaria area.10 Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria has been described in this area.2,3 The Department of Health in South Africa recommends the use of mefloquine alone or the combination of chloroquine and proguanil, (doxycycline is prescribed for travelers in which the former antimalarials cannot be utilized), for visitors to this area during the high risk period for malaria, which extends from October to May.4 For the remainder of the year mosquito avoidance measures are recommended. Little is known about travelers' compliance with these recommendations and their knowledge of malaria. A study to explore these factors was undertaken as a joint initiative between the SAIMR travel clinic, Mpumalanga Department of Health, and the South African National Parks.