CAPE TOWN – The Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga has urged visitors to take precautionary measures against Malaria before visiting.
The warning comes in the wake of an outbreak of the disease that claimed over 30 lives in neighbouring Limpopo.
The SA National Parks (SANParks) said the park was classified as a low-risk area although it was situated in a malaria area.
“Due to the heavy rainfall this year, there are pools of water in abundance everywhere and the Park is experiencing Malaria cases especially in the northern part of the Park,” said spokesperson William Mabasa.
“Malaria seems to be on the brink of an outbreak lately despite the fact that we almost in winter now with some of the country’s provinces reporting hundreds of people who have been admitted and tested positive for the disease in hospitals.
“We therefore would like to advise visitors to take the necessary precautions which include the use of prophylaxis and vaccinations in consultation with their doctors to prevent the possibility of contracting Malaria, as Kruger National Park is known to be one of the Malaria endemic areas in this country.”
The northern part of South Africa is prone to malaria cases, although at minimal levels.
Despite the health department’s routine spraying of households between September and March to combat the disease, this year’s outbreak caught authorities by surprise and has so far claimed over 30 lives.
“Although malaria can be contracted at any time of the year, the malaria season in this country is October to April, with March and April the highest risk period. However, this year seems to be slightly different,” said Mabasa.
“With winter approaching, mosquitoes which are carriers of the parasite causing malaria, should begin to hibernate and the situation shall possibly improve.
“There are medical doctors permanently based in Skukuza, Kruger National Park’s main camp. The public can also consult them for information and advice prior to their visit to the park.”
The provincial health department said it had response teams spread across the northern part of Limpopo to deal with malaria cases.
Malaria is transmitted through a mosquito bite and causes death if untreated.
PHOTO: USDA/AFP/File / Ho
Malaria, the mosquito-borne disease kills some 584,000 people per year — more than 75 percent of them children under five, according to the WHO