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By Turtle - Posted on 25 August 2008

Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which infects red blood cells. The parasites are transmitted through the bite of a particular type of mosquito. Malaria is a major problem in Africa: the World Health Organization estimates that 1 million people, mostly children in sub-Saharan Africa, die from Malaria each year.

You can find more info on malaria at the Center for Disease Control.

Malaria is generally absent at higher elevations (above about 2500 m or 8000 ft), so you will not be at direct risk of malaria during most of your Kilimanjaro climb. However, you are still very much at risk before and after the climb in Tanzania, especially since as a visitor, you likely have little or no natural immunity to malaria.

There is currently no approved human vaccine against malaria, so you should take prophylactic medications (anti-malaria pills) and avoid mosquito bites. The two most popular anti-malaria medications are Malarone and doxycycline, which have mild or no side effects for most people. Consult with a physician (preferably one who specializes in travel medicine) to determine which anti-malarial pill is appropriate for your medical situation. Make sure you bring the anti-malaria pills with you to Africa, as you can't count on buying them when you arrive.

You can also reduce the risk of malaria by avoiding mosquito bites. Use an insect repellent containing DEET, and make sure you sleep with a bed net or in a tent with working mosquito netting at night.

Turtle says "pole pole"