The impending onset of the rainy season means that the Department of Health will once again bring out their pesticides for malaria control. The department uses environmentally friendly pesticides, but also makes use of DDT, known for its harmful effects to the environment.
The DDT will be sprayed on traditional mud and reed houses, on the inside walls and under the eaves. Pyrethroids and carbamates, which are less environmentally persistent, will be used on western-style structures.
In 1999, malaria became a huge problem in KwaZulu-Natal when Anopheles funestis, a malaria-carrying mosquito, showed resistance to the pyrethroid chemicals used to control it.
DDT was then used as it was the only pesticide registered for malaria mosquito control that the mosquitoes were not resistant to. In order to ensure the safest possible use of the chemical, the Endangered Wildlife Trust Poison Working Group (EWT-PWG) began helping to train the people who applied the pesticide. This has resulted in the safest possible application of the chemical.
The Poison Working Group will continue with monitoring and Anti-malaria prophylactics are recommended for visitors for Kruger. The highest risk period is between December and April (end of the rainy season). A 24-hour malaria hotline is available on +27 (0)82 234 1800 to give detailed explanation on risk and advice on precautionary measures.
Visitors wishing to take prophylactics should consult a knowledgeable medical practitioner or recognised travel clinic about recommended medication, as certain products cause nausea, hallucinations or other negative side effects with certain people.
Very often (particularly after periods of low rainfall) the malaria risk in Kruger is very low. Many people decide not to take prophylactics and rather try to avoid getting bitten.
The most vulnerable times are between dusk and dawn. People are advised to stay indoors during these periods, or cover exposed skin with light clothing or insect repellants. The ankles are the most critical area. Burning anti-mosquito coils and ensuring netted screens are kept closed are other preventative measures. - SANPARKS