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Netcare Travel Clinics

SAA Netcare Travel Clinics can help you with all your travel health requirements. We boast a team of highly professional and caring medical staff, keen to ensure that you'll be in the right shape at the right time, and that you come home healthy!

We are happy to offer advice to anyone planning to travel, whether by land, air or sea. The Travel Clinics receive up-to-the-minute information on 84 different hazards in more than 250 countries, which means advice can be specifically tailored to each individual's journey.

Whether you are travelling to a country with poor medical facilities, or you are simply concerned about the dangers of exposure to your personal health, protection will be planned there and then.

A comprehensive range of vaccines is also available, and all SAA Netcare Travel Clinics are registered Yellow Fever Immunisation Centres.

We can also provide with malaria medication tailor-made for your specific needs, as well as a range of Travel Kits, insect sprays, bed-nets and much more!

SAA Netcare Travel Clinics offer travellers the following services and expertise:

MALARIA

WHAT IS MALARIA?

Malaria is a potentially fatal illness of tropical and subtropical regions. The disease is caused by a parasite which is transmitted to humans bitten by infected mosquitoes. The disease is widespread in Africa, and over one million people die of malaria every year on the continent, mostly children under the age of five.

WHICH AREAS HARBOUR MALARIA?

Within South Africa's borders the disease is encountered mainly in Northern & Eastern Mpumalanga, Northern KwaZulu Natal and the border areas of Northern and North West provinces.

Considering South Africa's neighbours, malaria is also considered to be a threat to travellers visiting the lower lying areas such as Swaziland, while it is encountered throughout Mozambique and Zimbabwe, much of Botswana. Northern Namibia is also a malaria area.

Within South Africa's boarders, malaria transmission is at its highest during warmer and wetter months of November through to April. For May through to October, the risks of acquiring malaria are reduced, but low risk does not mean that there is no risk!

HOW TO AVOID MALARIA

Prevention of malaria relies upon adopting personal protection measures designed to reduce the chances of attracting a mosquito bite, and the use of appropriate malaria medication. Both personal protection methods and anti-malarial medications are important, and neither should be neglected at the expense of the other.

PERSONAL PROTECTION MEASURES

Personal protection measures against mosquito-bites include:

  • If possible, avoid being outdoors at night, when malaria carrying mosquitoes are likely to bite.
  • Wearing light coloured clothing to conceal as much of the body as practical, especially from dusk until dawn
  • Sleeping under mosquito nets
  • The use of appropriate insect repellent containing di-ethyl toluamide (also know as DEET)
  • The spraying of sleeping quarters at night with a pyrethoid containing insecticide
  • The burning of an insecticide coils or the use of electronic vaporizing mats
  • ANTI-MALARIA TABLETS (PROPHYLAXIS)

There are a number of different types of anti-malaria tablets available. Choosing one depends upon the particular area being visited and the traveller's medical history.

Within South Africa's borders, SAA-Netcare Travel Clinics recommend either mefloquine, doxycycline, or atovaquone-proguanil as being the most effective anti-malaria tablets. All of these drugs require a prescription.

Mefloquine

Mefloquine is taken once a week. This should be commenced at least one week before entering the malaria, weekly while in the malaria area and continued for four weeks after leaving the malaria area. Mefloquine is best taken after a meal and with liquids. Mefloquine is not suited for persons with epilepsy, certain heart problems and depression.

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is taken once a day, starting a day before entering a malaria area, daily while in the malaria are and for four weeks after leaving the malaria area. The drug should be taken after a meal, and washed down with plenty of liquid. It should be avoided in pregnancy and children under the age of 8.

Atovaquone-proguanil

Atovaquone-proguanil is taken once a day, starting one to two days before entering a malaria area, daily while in the malaria area and for seven days after leaving the malaria area.

No method of malaria prevention is one hundred per cent effective, and there is a small chance of contracting malaria despite the taking of anti-malaria medication and the adoption of personal protection methods.

This does not mean that malaria medication and personal protection measures should be neglected, as they greatly reduce your risk of getting malaria.

Any traveller developing possible symptoms of malaria should seek medical advice despite having taken the prescribed precautions.

WHY IS MALARIA DANGEROUS?

Most of the malaria found within South Africa is caused by Plasmodium falciparum. It is potentially the most dangerous type of malaria, and can prove rapidly fatal.

Symptoms may develop as soon as seven days after entering a malaria area and as long as six months after leaving a malaria area. Symptoms of malaria can be mild in the initial stages, resembling influenza.

MALARIA SYMPTOMS

Symptoms of malaria may include:

  • Generalized body of ache
  • Tiredness
  • Hheadaches
  • Sore throat
  • Diarrhoea
  • Fever

It is worth emphasizing that these symptoms may not be dramatic, and can easily be mistaken for an attack of influenza or similar life threatening illness. Deterioration can be sudden and dramatic.

A high swing in fever may develop, with marked shivering and dramatic perspiration. Complications of a serious nature, such as involvement of the kidneys or brain (cerebral malaria) may then follow.

Cerebral malaria is extremely serious, with the victim becoming delirious and entering a coma. Cerebral malaria is frequently fatal, and it is extremely important that all suspected cases of malaria should receive immediate medical attention.

All persons possibly exposed to malaria developing influenza-like illnesses or fever within seven days after entering a malaria area should seek immediate medical attention!

Urgent blood tests must be taken to check for possible malaria infection. It may be sensible to have a second blood test taken if a first test is negative for malaria, to be certain of excluding the disease.

DIVING AND MALARIA

Scuba diving is a sport that requires orientation and concentration. The compressed nitrogen that divers breathe can have an effect on the brain and can cause nitrogen narcosis in severe cases.

It is believed that the anti-malarial drug Mefloquine may interact adversely with compressed nitrogen leading to an increased risk of confusion and disorientation.

Divers are therefore advised to avoid using mefloquine when diving. Alternative anti-malarial drugs are available which do not have the risks that mefloquine have.

Divers are advised to consult experts in travel medicine before departure, to establish which anti-malarial would be best for them personally.

MALARIA SUMMARY

Malaria is a potentially fatal disease transmitted by mosquitoes.
Prevention relies on measure to reduce bites, and taking anti-malaria medication appropriately both for the destination and the traveller.


All travellers developing influenza symptoms or fever after visiting a malaria area should be tested for malaria, even if they took preventive measures.

YELLOW FEVER

WHAT IS YELLOW FEVER?

Yellow Fever is a viral illness for which there is no cure, but there is an effective vaccine which will prevent it. Wild monkey populations act as a natural reservoir of virus in tropical regions.

The intermediary between man and monkey is a mosquito. Mosquitoes acquire the virus through feeding on the blood of infected monkeys.

Should such an infected mosquito's next feed come from biting a human, that unfortunate person will most likely become a yellow fever victim unless they have been vaccinated against the disease.

WHICH AREAS HARBOUR YELLOW FEVER?

The Yellow Fever virus continuously lurks in the background in the forests and jungles of Africa, Central and South America. If you are travelling to one of these countries, you will require a yellow fever vaccination:

YELLOW FEVER SYMPTOMS:

The illness develops within six days of being bitten by an infected mosquito, and the onset is usually sudden: fever develops, with headache, body pains, and most often nausea.

The fever may then remit briefly, only to return as the sufferer's condition deteriorates. As the liver begins to suffer by attach from the virus, a form of jaundice develops, with the victim turning yellow.

Internal bleeding, followed by coma and death may then be expected. It is from the jaundice, or yellowing of skin, that the disease has earned its name.

THE YELLOW FEVER ACCINATION CERTIFICATE (YELLOW CARD):

Travellers immunized against yellow fever are issued with an internationally recognized vaccination certificate for inspection by immigration officials.

The international health regulations concerning yellow fever are unequivocal, and unvaccinated travellers may face denial of entry, or even quarantine in certain circumstances.

This strict control is maintained to ensure that both the individual traveller and the broader communities are protected against outbreaks of this disease.


Travellers to yellow fever areas should be vaccinated for their own personal protection.
Travellers from yellow fever areas should have been vaccinated to prevent the spread of the infection into the broader community in their home countries.

Many countries currently free of yellow fever have mosquitoes that are potentially capable of transmitting the disease.

Health authorities are concerned so as to avoid the inadvertent introduction of the yellow fever virus to these mosquitoes, as this might cause a repeat of the epidemics seen in previous years.

South Africa is home to such mosquito species, but remains free of yellow fever.The vaccine, if properly administered, provides solid immunity against the disease for 10 years.

IMMUNISATIONS

COMMONLY ADMINISTERED TRAVEL VACCINATIONS:

  • Tetanus
  • Polio
  • Typhoid
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Yellow Fever
  • Cholera
  • Meningococcal meningitis

IMMUNISATIONS FOR SPECIAL SITUATIONS:

The following vaccines may be appropriate for certain travellers, depending on the nature of the journey planned, and the activities contemplated.

  • Rabies
  • Encephalitis vaccines
  • Japanese Encephalitis
  • Tick Bone Encephalitis

TETANUS

All travellers should be up to date with their tetanus immunization as the disease is spread throughout the world and is potentially a hazard to life.

A booster dose is given via a single injection, and if you have not had one in the last ten years, this is indicated. It is often combined with polio and diphtheria vaccines, also as a single injection.

POLIO

This vaccine can be given orally as drops, or in combination with tetanus and diphtheria. The vaccine offers simple and safe protection against poliomyelitis, which is still prevalent in some countries. In 2006 there was an outbreak of polio in Namibia.

TYPHOID

Typhoid is a disease contracted from contaminated food and water which leads to a high fever and septicaemia. Immunisation is usually advised for those going to areas where the standards of food and water hygiene are lower than in South Africa.

The vaccine is administered through a single injection that usually gives protection for 3 years.

HEPATITIS

Hepatitis is an infection of the liver. Such infections are generally serious because of the central role the liver plays in the detoxification of the body's waste products.

Most of the commonly seen forms of hepatitis are caused by the very small micro-organisms, known as viruses.

Viruses do not respond to antibiotics, and there is generally no effective treatment for most viral infections. Prevention therefore is of paramount importance.

Most forms of hepatitis start with influenza-like symptoms: lethargy, body pains, headache and fever. Loss of appetite nausea and diarrhoea can lead to significant weight loss.

The cardinal symptom is jaundice, where the skin turns yellow. This occurs because the liver becomes unable to eliminate the toxins released by red blood cells reaching the end of the normal 120 day lifespan.

Although there are many different types of hepatitis, two of the commonest forms of are hepatitis A, and hepatitis B. Both are relatively commons in less developed parts of the world.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is acquired principally from contaminated food and water. It is released in the stools of those infected. Inadequate hygiene compliance by food handlers is a major source of infection, especially in countries with sub-optimal public health enforcement.

People with the virus may not always appear ill, especially during the early stages. The incubation period is 2 weeks, and recovery can be protracted in adults, taking many months.

Although the disease is not usually fatal, it can cause a prolonged, debilitating and unpleasant illness.

Persons of high socio-economic status are often susceptible, as they will not have been exposed to the virus in childhood and acquired any natural immunity.

A safe and effective vaccine giving at least 10 years protection is available against hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a potentially fatal disease. It is acquired by contract with contaminated body fluids, especially blood.

Contaminated or unsterile medical equipment is a commons source of infection amongst travellers, usually in lesser developed countries where disposable medical equipment may be re-used.

It may also be sexually transmitted, and represents another area of risk to travellers. In general, hepatitis B is acquired much the same way as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The incubation period is 2 to 6 months.

The disease causes severe symptoms, similar to, but often worse than hepatitis A.

Liver destruction and death can occur. Of those who seem to recover, around 15% will become persistent carriers of the virus. Carriers suffer ongoing damage, leading to liver cirrhosis (hardening) or even cancer of the liver. An effective vaccine is available against hepatitis B.

CHOLERA

Cholera is an uncommon disease in travellers. The oral cholera vaccine provides significant protection against cholera, and is well tolerated.

It may be wise for travellers with the potential to be exposed to uncertain water and hygiene to consider immunization with the oral vaccine. A similar consideration applies to certain categories of high risk travellers.

A degree of protection against certain other forms of travel associated diarrhoea is offered by the vaccine currently available.

Travellers to some developing countries may be required to be in possession of cholera vaccination certificates to pass through immigration formalities without hindrance.

MENINGOCOCCAL MENINGITIS

This bacterial disease is present worldwide, but the risk is usually low. Travellers who stay in crowded conditions or undertake pilgrimages are at risk, especially if they travel in the "meningitis belt of Africa". Vaccination is available for this potentially deadly disease, and protection lasts for 3 years.

RABIES

Pre-immunisation against rabies should be considered by travellers visiting areas where rabies is endemic, who are staying for considerable periods of time in a rabies endemic area or who are at particular risk.

The immunization can be life saving, but any traveller who is bitten or licked by a potentially rabid animal must seek urgent medical attention, as the vaccine will then definitely require boosting.

Avoiding unknown animals and animals displaying abnormal behaviour is extremely important. Rabies is not curable, and leads to a painful death once contracted.

ENCEPHALITIS VACCINES

These vaccines are to protect against nasty and potentially fatal forms of encephalitis (brain infection) that travellers to the rural areas of Asia and Central Europe might be exposed to. These diseases are called Japanese Encephalitis and European Tick Borne Encephalitis.

Japanese Encephalitis

This viral disease is prevalent in South and South East Asia, extending from China to Japan. The virus attacks and destroys the brain and spinal cord and as for most viral illnesses, there is no know cure, and the emphasis is on prevention.

The disease is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes.

The illness is often dramatically onset, with the sudden appearance of an unremitting fever. Other types of symptoms are headaches and vomiting. Mental confusion and delirium may develop next, leading to death.

As the disease is confined to rural areas, travellers to urban areas are not usually at risk. Anyone venturing away from the more developed areas could be exposed. Preventative measures include anti-mosquito precautions.

Tick Borne Encephalitis

As the name suggests, the viral disease is transmitted by ticks, and can cause infection of the brain.

The disease occurs in central and eastern Europe. Infected countries include Austria, Southern Germany, Switzerland and Russia, amongst others.

Areas of Scandinavia are also affected.

Travellers venturing into forests and rural areas of affected countries during the warmer months should protect themselves by wearing trousers and full length sleeves. Also use appropriate tick repellents.

Additionally, a vaccine is now available and may be recommended for certain travellers.

For more Information please email Jackie Ensor @ travelinfo@netcare.co.za

Netcare Travel Clinics:

Netcare Travel Clinic Boksburg

Medicross Boksburg
Cnr Trichardt and Northrand Road
Boksburg
Tel: +27 11 898 6520

Netcare Travel Clinic Cape Town

11th Floor, Room 1107, Picbel Parkade
58 Strand Street
Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 419 3172
Netcare Travel Clinic Jakaranda

Netcare Jakaranda Hospital
213 Middelberg Street, Muckleneuk
Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 421 6805
Netcare Travel Clinic Linksfield

Netcare Linksfield Hospital
24 12th Avenue
Linksfield West
Tel: +27 11 647 3654
Netcare Travel Clinic Rivonia

Morningside Close Office Park, Block B
222 Rivonia Road
Morningside
Tel: +27 11 802 0059
Netcare Travel Clinic Port Elizabeth

19 Westbourne Road
Port Elizabeth
Central
Tel no: +27 41 374 7471
Netcare Travel Clinic Pinetown

Medicross Pinetown
Cnr Old Main and
Meller Road
Pinetown
Tel: +27 31 709 3070
Netcare Travel Clinic Tokai

Medicross Tokai
Cnr Tokai and Keyser Road
Cape Town
Tel: +27 21 715 7063

Netcare Travel Clinic Potchefstroom

Medicross Potchefstroom
Cnr Peter Mokaba and James Moraka St
Potchefstroom
Tel: +27 18 293 7800

Netcare Umhlanga Travel Clinic

Netcare Umhlanga Medical Centre
321 Umhlanga Rocks Drive
Umhlanga Rocks
Durban
Tel: +27 31 582 5302