What is Malaria? Malaria is a mosquito-transmitted disease usually associated with Africa. However, it is also present in India. Therefore, when [traveling to India]() I recommend taking the necessary preventive measures before arriving to you destination. Unfortunately, you cannot be vaccinated against Malaria. It is essential to be familiarized with the most important symptoms of malaria which are: fever, headache, diarrhea, cough or chills, may also occur. The only way to make sure you have Malaria is by taking a blood sample.
How to Prevent Malaria? The best way to prevent Malaria is by taking prescription medicine and by preventing mosquito bites. There are prescription medicines you can take before, during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor to see which medicine is best for you. The most common antimalarial drugs are the following:
Most common antimalarial drugs:
- Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone): Good for last-minute travelers because the drug is started 1-2 days before traveling to an area where malaria transmission occurs.
- Chloroquine: Good choice for long trips because it is taken only weekly.
- Doxycycline: Tends to be the least expensive antimalarial.
- Mefloquine (Lariam): Not a good choice for last-minute travelers because drug needs to be started at least 2 weeks prior to travel.
- Primaquine: Good choice for shorter trips because you only have to take the medicine for 7 days after traveling rather than 4 weeks.
The best way to prevent mosquito bites is: 1- To use mosquito repellent with high percentage of DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) as its active ingredient. DEET is known to be safe and effective, and it is currently the only repellent that effectively protects against the mosquitoes that cause malaria. 2- To cover exposed skin by wearing long pants and long sleeves. 3- To apply repellent over sunscreen if wearing sunscreen.
Interesting Facts About Malaria:
- Malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
- Antimalarial drugs are not 100% protective.
- Malaria can be deadly in severe cases. It kills 438,000 people each year (which mainly are children).
Malaria in India: Malaria is present throughout the country including cities of Bombay (Mumbai) and Delhi. All areas above 2,000m (6,562 ft) do not have Malaria due to the altitude.
Antimalarial tablets are recommended for the following cities: -Assam -Orissa
The following cities have low to no risk: -States of Himachel Pradesh -Jammu -Kashmir -Sikkim -Bangalore -Kolkata -Mumbai -Nagpur -Nasik -Pune