Through most of South Africa , malaria is not common, but in areas such as Mpumalanga , KwaZulu Natal, North West and Northern Provinces , there is a high risk throughout the year. Although the summer months are the time when there is the greatest risk of infection. Here are a few precautions which should be taken to protect yourself:-
Use mosquito repellent throughout the day and night on all exposed skin.
Whenever possible cover up your skin with loose fitting clothing especially at dusk when the mosquitoes are at their most active.
Close windows and doors at night wherever possible
Burning mosquito coils, which are widely available, is a safe and effective way of deterring mosquitoes
Sleep under a mosquito net
It is also advisable to take medication to prevent malaria, which may have to be taken up to 4 weeks before you travel, but this is by no means foolproof, and all the above precautions should be taken as well. The symptoms of malaria are:-
Flu like symptoms
Muscular and joint pains
If you experience any of these symptoms, either during your stay in South Africa or within 6 months of your visit, you should go to a doctor and explain that you have been in a malaria area. Also insist on a blood test, so that if you are infected it can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
Tick bites most often occur when hiking or camping in wilderness areas, particularly where there is long grass. Hardticks, which have lifecycles that involve dogs, rodents or other animals, are the hosts of the bacteria. Amblyomma ticks will actively seek out humans on which to feed, while Rhipicephalus ticks tend to lie in wait on grass are picked up when you brush past. They will remain in position until physically removed.
The incubation period (time from the infected bite to the appearance of symptoms) is 5-7 days. Symptoms vary depending on the bacterial species, your age and current health status. Typical features include:
the presence of a black mark at the site of the bite
Swollen lymph nodes near the bite site
Occasionally a rash will develop
The blackened bite mark is called an escher. It looks like a small ulcer (2-5mm in diameter) with a black center, similar to a spider bite. The bite site may be difficult to find with the escher appearing once the other symptoms begin. As with malaria, if you have been bitten or show any of the above symptoms within a week of being in an infected area, seek medical advice, drawing to the doctors attention that you may have been infected.
This is caused by a tiny worm found in still and running water which penetrates the skin. Avoid bathing in freshwater rivers and dams in sub-tropical and tropical areas. If within a few days of swimming you develop an itchy rash, or within two months you experience flu like symptoms, seek medical advice, drawing to the doctor's attention that you may have been infected.
As in other countries, always take precautions when having sex, not only to protect yourself from HIV/Aids but a whole host of other sexually transmitted infections too. South Africa has one of the highest rates of HIV in the world. More than 80 million Africans may die from Aids by 2025, the United Nations said in a report, and infections could soar to 90 million if more isn't done. Here are some facts about Aids/HIV
According to the World Health Organization 34.3 million people in the world have the AIDS virus 24.5 million Of these cases are in sub-Saharan Africa.
Nearly 19 million people around the world have died from AIDS, 3.8 million of them children under the age 15.
There were over 5 million new AIDS cases in 1999, 4 million of them in Africa.
2.8 million people died of AIDS IN 1999, over 2 million of them in Africa.
13.2 million Children have been orphaned by AIDS, 12 million of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
Life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa has dropped from 59yrs to 45yrs between 2005 and 2010, and in Zimbabwe from 61yrs to 33yrs.
More than 500,000 babies were born infected with the virus in 1999, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
We strongly advise that you take out comprehensive travel/medical Insurance before you leave your home country, for the duration of your trip to South Africa .