visiting The Gambia you are strongly recommended to take anti-malaria
medications as a best prevention against the mosquito transmitted disease,
Plasmodium Falciparum parasite, which is normally passed to humans by the female
The usual anti-malarial medicines
to be prescribed are the prophylactics: Doxycycline, Malarone® (atovaquone proguanil), Lariam® (mefloquine). P. Falciparum
has shown Nivaquin® (chloroquine) resistance to
treatment and is no longer recommended as an effective prevention.
There has been heated debate and controversy
about the possible side-effects of the Lariam® /
mefloquine tablets. UK travellers should
check with their local NHS GP before departing
on holiday as you will almost certainly be
prescribed anti-malaria medicines.
However, Malarone is considered a better alternative with minimal
side-effects and with the added bonus that it can be taken 1 day before
you depart. Having said all this you should consult your doctor as he
or she is in the best position to advise you on the best course of
pills you should be taking.
appear 7 to 15 days after infection and include headaches, fever,
shivering, vomiting, nausea, and flu-like symptoms.
varied because it all depends on the type of Plasmodium parasite that
caused the malaria. That's why if you have any of the above symptoms
or ailments while in Gambia or on your return home you
must see a doctor at a clinic for a test. If left untreated it can stay
with you for a
very long time indeed!
Preventative Measures & Protection:
None of the medications above are 100% effective so it is also advised
that you do take the following additional measures:
• Bring along mosquito repellent such as DEET cream or spray which can be rubbed on
your arms and legs.
This should be done just before dusk or if you are
venturing into the bush during the day. The other item is to use
insect spray which is locally available such as Bop or Baygon. When
spraying do so behind cupboards, under beds and in other shaded areas.
• Use bed netting where the accommodation
does not have an insect screen on their widows. This is particularly necessary when
staying in basic lodgings, further up-country or at camps by the
There are special mosquito coils called Moon Tiger available in local
shops. These are ideal to take along when eating in open-air
restaurants as you would place them under the table and it keeps many
bugs at bay. Do not light coils in any room as they can be a fire
• Because mosquitoes are active at night always close your main door at
stop them entering your sleeping area.
• Sleep using a
fan. Because the insects are very light in weight they cannot get a foothold because
of the constant air-flow.
• For people permanently
resident in the country here are a list of tropical Plants that repel
mosquitoes: Citronella, Basil (Amiaceae), L. cheraliera.
1) Remove all standing
water in garden
2) Cut grassy areas short
3) Remove dead &
information is about the geographic local prevalence as well as the
time of the year when the mosquito is most numerous. Remember, it is
not the humble mosquito that suffers from malaria, it is humans. The
insect merely takes the parasite from one person to another.
The following is just a rough guide.
insects (known locally as 'yorr') are most numerous during the rainy season which
mid-June to mid-October.
female of the species feeds on plant sap and human blood, when pregnant, so you will
find plenty in lush tropical gardens as well as by mangrove creeks and
•As has been mentioned
they are active at night time and most active just before dawn and
sunrise. Though you can still be bitten in the daytime especially in shaded, green
areas of foliage. This all depends on which one of the 16 mosquito species are around
of which 8 are known to be carriers of the parasite.
One of which is known as Anopheles Gambiae!
Should you find
yourself suspecting you might have contracted the disease then see
your tour representative and ask to see a doctor immediately.
If you are an independent traveller try and see a medical practitioner as soon as
possible. Failing this then you should get tested at either the Jobot
Laboratories on Kairaba Avenue (open till 9pm) or Lamtoro
Medical Centre at Kololi. You can find their contact details under
clinics & pharmacies. If they
are closed then you have to decide for yourself whether to take
curative treatment which is usually available at many of the Kombo's
pharmacies. Based on the findings of a workshop on the anti-malaria
treatment policy in Ethiopia, held in May 2004 in Addis
Ababa, the WHO has suggested the need
to change to the use of the ACT drug,
artemether-lumefantrine for the
treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
Always get the advice of your doctor before
deciding to take or not to take any medications or precautions.