MALARIA - More than just a sting!

Do you think, that there is an infectious disease, transmitted by an insect, which can be deadly to humans? The answer is yes! This disease is called malaria and is prevalent in many countries and territories worldwide, especially subtropical areas.

What is malaria?  

Malaria, also known as paludism, is an infection caused by the bite of a female mosquito infected with a parasite called Plasmodium. There are five different parasites that can infect humans: P.falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae and P. knowlesi. During its development phase, the parasite takes refuge in the liver then goes into the bloodstream to attack the red blood cells, causing their destruction. In Canada, the doctor is required to report this infection to government authorities.

What are the symptoms of malaria?

The clinical presentation may differ depending on the type of parasite transmitted, but in general, these are the typical symptoms (similar to the flu):

  • Fever over 38 ° C (100 ° F)

  • Chills, sweating

  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea

  • Headache, dizziness

  • Cough

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle and joint pain  

The condition of the person can deteriorate rapidly leading to serious complications, listed below, sometimes even fatal if the situation is not urgently supported:

  • Coma

  • Seizure

  • Respiratory failure

  • Renal failure

How to prevent malaria?  

Malaria preventive medication may be required depending on the destination visited. Volyse healthcare providers make sure you have what is needed for your trip.

Indeed, the risk of contracting malaria varies within the same country according to the following factors: altitude, season, type of accommodation, duration and type of stay, general condition of patient and the patient's compliance with preventive measures.  

Depending on the situation, a drug may be prescribed according to the health profile, drug sensitivity and contraindications. When the preventive treatment is taken as recommended, it offers a protection of 95% against malaria infection. Therefore, it is important to follow non-pharmacological measures (NPMs) consistently. No vaccine is yet available to prevent malaria.

Physical protection:  

• Avoid outdoor activities between sunset and sunrise (greater presence of the insect)

• Wear long and pale clothes

• Unroll the sleeves of your shirts and tuck your sweaters into your pants

• Tuck the pants bottom into socks, boots or shoes

• Sleep under a resistant mosquito net with a mesh of 1.5 mm

• Avoid the use of scented products

• Reduce the length of stay in an area and season at risk

• Sleep in an air-conditioned room   

Chemical protection:   

  • Use an insect repellent such as DEET or icaridin

  • The duration of protection of DEET is proportional to the concentration of the product

    • 12 years old and over children: using 30% concentration offers up to 6 hours of protection

    • 2 to 12 years old children: use concentration of 10%, to be applied up to three times a day maximum

    • From 6 months to 2 years children: 10% concentration to apply once a day maximum

    • Less than 6 months old infants: DEET is not recommended

  • Avoid applying the product to the face, sensitive areas of the body, deep wrinkles of the skin, lesions and sunburns

  • Avoid products combining DEET and sunscreen; DEET decreases the effectiveness of sun protection and the latter increases the absorption of DEET through the skin

  • The Canadian Dermatology Association's recommendation is to apply the sunscreen first, wait 15 minutes for the product to enter and then apply DEET

  • Spray mosquito net with insecticide (permetherine)

  • Impregnate clothing with insecticide (permetherine)   

Volyse makes sure you have all you need before your adventures ;). #TravelHealth

References  

1. Rx Vigilance. Card: Malaria (Malaria). Page consulted in March 2018.

2. http://www.who.int/ith/chapters/ITH_chapter_7fr.pdf?ua=1  

3. https://www.canada.ca/fr/sante-publique/services/maladies/paludisme.html  

4. https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/  

5. https://www.inspq.qc.ca/sante-voyage/guide/risques/paludisme  

6. https://www.cps.ca/fr/documents/position/prevention-piqures-de-moustiques-et-de-tiques  

7. Prophylaxis of malaria. Quebec Pharmacy. June 2012 vol. 59 and Number 3. p.21 to 28.

Stephanie El-Chakieh