VoyageWell: Your Trusted Travel Medicine Resource
Exploring the Heart of Africa: Livingstone, Zambia
The city that offers you everything from leisure to adventure and some delightful cuisines to try.
- The Victoria Falls has been accredited as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world. It’s the world’s largest sheet of falling water and is twice the height of Niagara Falls.
- Nshima is the staple food of Zambia, made from maize meal, often served with a variety of relishes such as stewed vegetables or meat.
- Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is easily accessible from Livingstone and is the only wildlife area with white rhinos.
- Zambezi River is the 4th largest river in Africa. Wildlife can be spotted on a game drive along its banks, and include elephant, hippos, crocodiles, and even lion.
- Zambia is the birthplace of walking safaris, this experience allows you to walk at the pace of nature and embrace the natural wonders cautiously and most of all, excitingly.
While engaging in a walking safari in Livingstone, Zambia can be thrilling, it may increase your exposure to malaria. It is crucial to take appropriate preventative measures, such as using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and strongly considering antimalarial medication to mitigate your risk.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. It is a significant global health concern, especially in tropical and subtropical regions.
When an infected mosquito bites a person, it injects the Plasmodium parasite into their bloodstream. The parasite then travels to the liver, where it multiplies and matures. After this, it invades red blood cells, replicates further, and eventually bursts the cells, releasing more parasites. This cycle repeats, causing periodic episodes of fever and other symptoms.
Malaria is most prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. It is primarily found in parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The countries with the highest burden of malaria cases include Nigeria, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, India, and Uganda.
Risk of Malaria
People living in or traveling to malaria-endemic areas are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Factors that increase susceptibility to malaria include lack of immunity, poor access to healthcare, and inadequate preventive measures such as bed nets and insect repellents.
Symptoms of Malaria
Symptoms of malaria typically include:
- Muscle aches
In severe cases, it can lead to complications such as:
- Organ failure
For young children and individuals with weakened immune systems, complications can lead to even death.
Prevention of Malaria
Preventing malaria involves a combination of personal protective measures and community-wide interventions. Here are some key preventive methods:
- Mosquito avoidance: Use insect repellents containing DEET, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and sleep under mosquito nets, especially at night when malaria-transmitting mosquitoes are most active.
- Indoor residual spraying: Communities at risk can benefit from regular indoor spraying with insecticides to kill mosquitoes and reduce their breeding.
- Antimalarial medications: Travelers to high-risk areas may be prescribed antimalarial drugs to prevent infection. It is crucial to consult with healthcare professionals for appropriate medication and dosage.
- Mosquito control: Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by removing stagnant water from around homes, using larvicides to kill mosquito larvae, and implementing community-based vector control strategies.
Treatment for Malaria
Timely diagnosis and treatment are essential in managing malaria effectively. The choice of treatment depends on the parasite species causing the infection and the severity of the disease. Common antimalarial drugs include artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) and other medications like chloroquine or quinine.
It’s important to complete the full course of treatment as prescribed by a healthcare professional, even if symptoms improve. This helps to ensure complete clearance of the parasite from the body and prevent the development of drug resistance.
Malaria can lead to various symptoms and complications if left untreated. Preventive measures such as mosquito avoidance, insecticide use, and antimalarial medications can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment with antimalarial drugs are crucial for effective management of the disease.
If you have any concerns or suspect you may have malaria, it is always best to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional.
Connect with your Rockdoc Travel Medicine Professional here to book a consultation to discuss your trip and obtain the prescription and vaccinations to travel with peace of mind.
We have made every effort to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the provided information, however, it is not feasible for us to update daily. Please book a virtual consultation with one of our Travel Medicine Professionals for current, personalized advice and answers to any questions you may have.
Malaria Fast Facts
- Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted through the Anopheles mosquito; a genus found on every continent except Antarctica.
- Malaria is not a contagious disease – it cannot be contracted through contact with an infected person. However, in rare cases, transmission can occur through mother to fetus, blood transfusion, or the sharing of needles.
- Anyone can contract malaria; all travelers are at risk in areas where malaria occurs.
Before you travel to Zambia, book a consult with a Rockdoc Travel Health Professional. Rockdoc will determine your risk, immune status, and provide next steps to ensure you are protected against malaria, and all other travel-related illnesses.