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The malaria

bandiera italiana

 

General Information

 

Malaria is not a virus, it is not passed from person to person, and it is not passed via blood or saliva or because of a lack of personal or food hygiene. It is an infectious disease caused by parasites of the Plasmodium family, and in particular P. falciparum which is the most dangerous. It is passed to humans via a bite from the female Anofele mosquito.

 

The symptoms, especially in the initial stages, are similar to those that accompany other bacterial, viral and parasitical infections: fluctuations in body temperature (intermittent shivers/fever) headaches, sweats, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, diarrhoea. The incubation period for malaria varies depending on the parasite that has been introduced: from 7 to 14 days to two months, but in the case of an inadequate malarial prevention treatment, the period of incubation can be much longer. 

 

No prophylaxis is 100% effective and any signs of fever corresponding to the incubation of the illness should be considered an emergency.

 


01

 

 Mosquito repellent

 

Got for those in cream or lotion form: they provide better protection thanks to their more even distribution over the skin.

 

 

In recent years, the probability of contracting malaria has been notably reduced, the infection having been contained to certain areas.

  

Those who live in Kenya, or who spend long periods of time there, follow certain behavioural patterns suitable for the environment that are preventative in themselves, and which, over time, become almost automatic – behaviour that can be adopted also by those visiting Kenya for two or three weeks on holiday.

 

  • Sleep in a four poster bed with a mosquito net
  • Use mosquito spray on and around the bed a few hours before turning in
  • Always carry a repellent spray (Autan, Deet)

 

malaria cx

 

Prevention

 

The subject of antimalarial drugs is a controversial one, the opinions about which can make you wonder whether to actually take them.

Government websites, the Ministry of Health and local healthcare centres recommend that the preventative treatment is taken by those travelling to high-risk areas. Travel agents and tour operators tend to follow the same line of thought, despite the fact that each itinerary is theoretical and can be varied according to the preferences of the traveller.

Preventative treatment, however, does not guarantee total protection and antimalarial drugs can cause unpleasant side-effects.

 

 

Vaccination

 

There is no antidote for malaria 

but there is a vaccine, RTS.S, against the most dangerous parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, which is currently in clinical trials. It is hoped that it will halve malarial episodes in very young babies. 

 

The vaccine is being financed by the Bill and MeLinda Gates Foundation, and has been developed by the British multinational GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in collaboration with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI), and may well be available commercially in 2015.

 

 

Combination Treatment

 

Combination Treatment is available in all Kenyan chemists (it is not sold in Europe), and is a medicinal treatment of drugs combined to block the infection before it takes hold.

 

The method of prevention simply consists in buying it on arrival, and carrying it in your suitcase in case it is needed (the entire treatment costs about 10 euros and is valid for 5 years). It is a therapeutic treatment consisting of Artemisinin and Lumefantrine, which begin to work from the very first symptoms and with few side effects.

 

It came about thanks to collaboration between Chinese research institutes, is recommended by the World Health Organisation, and is now used as first line defence in more than 40 African countries, even in paediatrics. 

 

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