Updated by Søren Thybo, Consultant and specialist in infectious diseases:
What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious tropical disease that in the extreme can be fatal. It is widespread across the globe in tropical and subtropical areas. Globally, malaria is a huge health problem with 300 million new cases per year. In Denmark, turning around, 100 people returned from abroad every year with the disease. Deaths among Danes have fortunately been rare some years, but in 2008, was a Danish woman infected in the Gambia and died in Denmark untreated.
How you prevent malaria?
Prevention is about two things:
To avoid mosquito bites.
To take preventive medicine if you are traveling or living in a malaria area:
Avoid mosquito bites: Mosquitoes sticks especially at dusk and at night. Therefore, make sure to have the network for open doors and windows between sunset and sunrise. Rooms with air conditioning are also good. Otherwise, use mosquito nets around the bed, impregnated with insecticide as pyrethrum (a harmless substance derived from chrysanthemum extract), see below.
Long pants, long sleeved shirts and socks that are thick enough that mosquitoes can not sting through, also protects, but such a council can be difficult to follow in a hot climate.
Mosquito repellent with diethyltoluamide recommended, it can unfortunately not buy in Denmark. The reason is a conflict between manufacturers and the Environment Ministry of manufacturing secrets, not the substance is hazardous. However, it can be bought in Sweden as well as in most other countries.
In Denmark, the arrival of a new agent Autan that can be used instead. It comes in two strengths, where the weakest are for small children.
Use a mosquito net around the bed, preferably one that is impregnated with insecticide. It reduces the risk of infection by 50 percent among African children, so one should expect that it have the same effect for travelers. The network will be close without gaps, and it must be inserted into the ground. During the day, it rolled together so that mosquitoes and other insects cannot enter while it is not used.
Bring your own such a network. You cannot always count on impregnated nets are at your destination. Impregnation may be by certain networks with up to 3 years for others' network, only approx. havlt a year, and must then re-impregnated. Unfortunately, you cannot buy impregnation product at home, so you will normally have to buy a new network.
The last few years there has been vigorous debate about the antimalarials used for prevention. The problem is that there is an ideal product, which is both inexpensive, effective, without side effects and safe enough that it can be used by both pregnant women and children or taken for long periods.
Chloroquine: Chloroquine was almost perfect when it came out, but today there is widespread resistance to the means. This means that...