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Do I need antimalarials?

Do I need antimalarials?
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07 Jun 2018

Malaria prophylaxis is your first line of defence against a deadly disease

What animals are you really, really scared of? Sharks come pretty high up the list for some; but actually the chances of you being involved in a shark attack are minimal. In 2017, worldwide, there were 88 unprovoked shark attacks just five of which were fatal, according to Florida Museum’s Yearly Worldwide Shark Attack Summary. There were 30 provoked attacks, by the way, and we can only wonder what those people were thinking when they started on a shark!

What is more frightening than a shark?

Meanwhile, there’s another creature that in 2015, according to the World Health Organization, made 212 million people ill and killed 429,000 people. Let that sink in for a moment – this creature infected with malaria a group six times as large as the population of Canada (36.29 million). The numbers killed are equal to just under a third of the population of Calgary.

You’ve probably guessed the creature – it’s a mosquito, of the Anopheles genus, to be precise. Actually, there’s another creature involved in malaria. It’s five species of parasitic protozoan of the Plasmodium type. They infect the female mosquito, and then enter the human body via a mosquito bite. The parasite travels to the liver to mature and reproduce, causing the symptoms of malaria.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a very serious illness that can be fatal. The symptoms of fever, headache, muscle pain and vomiting will be enough to ruin your trip; and patients may relapse several times so you will have to take time off work after you return.

If you think you or someone you are caring for has malaria, seek medical advice immediately.

Where is malaria a risk?

Malaria is a tropical and subtropical disease. Broadly speaking, there is a risk in Sub-Saharan Africa, tropical Asia and Latin America. The malaria map can be tricky to read as the risk of contracting malaria is affected by climactic conditions and altitude. To find out your risk of malaria while travelling, consult a specialist travel health nurse, such as those at our travel clinic in Downtown Commercial. Bring your itinerary and a list of your planned activities.

How do I avoid malaria?

Your approach to preventing malaria needs two prongs. The first is chemoprophylaxis in the form of anti-malarial drugs; and the second is avoidance of mosquito bites.

Canadian Travel Clinics will help you to work out which anti-malarial tablets to take. Your travel health nurse will ask about your health history and your itinerary. They will use this information to recommend an appropriate anti-malarial. Your travel health nurse will work out when you need to start and stop taking the course, and it is very important that you follow these instructions, otherwise you will not be protected.

Your travel health nurse will advise on mosquito avoidance – and you can read more about avoiding bites on our travel advice page, too.

I’m looking for a travel clinic in Calgary

Look no further than Canadian Travel Clinics if you need travel vaccinations in Calgary. We can offer evening and early morning appointments for your convenience. Book online now.