(Taken from the Overland Forum Archives)
There are a number of test kits available from wholesalers in SA. They cost
about R35-00 per test. Most only test for falciparum malaria ( which may cause
cerebral malaria and causes most deaths ). The tests if done properly are
accurate in > 95% of cases. It is thus an excellent way of detecting malaria
in remote areas, where competent technologists may not be available to
There are a couple of very important points I would also like to mention
1. Malaria kills approx a million people in Africa each year. Hiv/Aids kills
about 2,5 million. Malaria is thus a severe disease and should be treated as
2. One may have a mild form of malaria ( with less parasites in the blood).
The symptoms are non specific and many other diseases may have the same
symptoms. In these cases the drug of choice is Coartem ( although this may
vary depending on the area ). In a case like this it is feasible to do one of
the Rapid tests and then use Coartem. There is a problem when doing follow up
testing, as the Rapid test may remain positive for 2 weeks after all parasites
3. In severe cerebral Malaria, which may follow the mild disease, or be
aggressive from the start, the drug of choice is parental quinine sulphate.
This can only be given a properly equipped clinic or hospital. Taking Coartem
will delay the severity, but it must be stressed that hospital treatment is
4. As far as prophylaxis goes it is a myth that taking prophylactic drugs
masks the illness. It is absolutely essential that prophylactic drugs be used
(unless there is a specific contraindication ) when visiting a high risk area.
People that live in high risk areas mostly have a certain amount of immunity
and they obviously don't all take prophylactic drugs. Many of them do in fact
also get malaria and die ( thus the 1 million deaths each year)
There are many more issues, but I will stop here.
Our Dept of health has excellent guideline documents on there website on
prophylaxis, treatments as well as area maps showing the diff risk areas.
These documents are well written and please do not downgrade them because of
our dept chaotic AIDS guidelines ( which has a lot of political overtones )
The website is given below, and should be read if you are going into high risk
Here you can ask questions about Anti-Malaria Prophylactics and other preventative measures.
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