Recommended malaria tablets for Kenya

Recommended malaria tablets for Kenya

Most visitors to Kenya need to take malaria tablets, unless they visit only Nairobi. The city itself is almost malaria free, however; visit the coast or go inland or on safari and malaria tablets are required.

Risk is present throughout the year in the whole country, but very low in Nairobi and the immediate surrounding areas, and low in the highlands (above 2500m) of Central, Eastern, Nyanza, Rift Valley and Western Provinces. Note that there can be a high risk in valleys of the highlands.

Kenya, in common with other African countries, has chloroquine resistant malaria. Chloroquine or chloroquine plus proguanil, which might be effective in parts of India or China, would not be effective in Kenya.

The recommended malaria tablets for Kenya are doxycycline OR mefloquine (Lariam) OR atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone).

Malarone tends to be the most popular tablet because it is taken for only one week after leaving a malaria area, rather than 4 weeks. Doxycycline is usually a lower cost treatment, although can cause increased sensitivity to the sun. Lariam is said to be associated with a potential to cause temporary psychiatric upset (vivid dreams, emotional upset and even disorientation and altered consciousness). Lariam tends to be more popular with people of African background who tend to be more familiar with its use.  See the Dr Fox site for more information about malaria tablet side effects.

In the UK the NHS for Scotland Fitfortravel website is widely used by doctors and travel clinics as a source of information about recommended malaria tablets. The map below is taken for this website. The whole country is coloured dark red, indicating countrywide risk.

Malaria prevention and treatment

No malaria prevention treatment is 100% effective. People who experience symptoms of malaria after whilst in a malaria area or afterwards should seek medical advice and may need malaria blood tests.

Malaria risk can be reduced by avoiding mosquito bites. Wear long-sleeved shirts; sleep under nets or in screened rooms, stay indoors or screened areas at dusk and use insect repellents and mosquito coils.

Kenya, particularly the areas visited by most tourists, has reasonable access to medical care, and therefore malaria treatment if needed, is usually available. Travellers to remote areas should consider carrying a malaria treatment with them.

Further Information

Further information about malaria is Africa can be found at the USA site – The Centre for Disease Control, although the advice is the same here, as it is through the World Health Organisation (WHO) (June 2013).

Note: Malaria is a serious and potentially fatal disease. Pregnant women, young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to serious infection. Malaria tablets bought from unregulated sources may be fake and ineffective.

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