What Malaria Tablets Do I Need For Kenya?

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One of the greatest health risks in Africa is malaria, and Kenya is not malaria free. Fortunately, there are tablets you can take to prevent malaria infection. Here are the key points you need to know about malaria tablets for Kenya so you can enjoy your journey with less worry.

 

What malaria tablets do I need for Kenya?

Malaria is spread by mosquitoes that have been infected with the malaria parasite, also known as Plasmodium. When an infected mosquito bites a human, it’s possible to transfer the parasite to them. This can cause a host of undesirable symptoms, including fever and flu-like illness.

As malaria can also result in the loss of red blood cells, those infected may experience anaemia and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). There may be mental confusion, cardiac symptoms, and in extreme cases — death. Therefore, it’s essential to protect yourself with anti-malarial medication.

The same drugs that are used to treat malaria are used to prevent it. There are several pharmaceutical options available, depending on your personal situation. Here are the basics to let you decide which one is right for you. We review the cost in a separate section below.

 

Atovaquone/Proguanil (Malarone)

What is it? Atovaquone/Proguanil is the generic name for a combination antiparasitic drug. It is sold under the brand name Malarone as well, also known as generic Malarone.

Where is it effective? Worldwide.

How often is it taken? Once per day.

How many tablets are needed in total? One tablet for each day of your trip, plus nine extra tablets.

How is it dosed before and after travel? One day before travel and seven days after travel.

What are the possible side effects? Headache, nausea, diarrhoea, and upset stomach.

Can children take it? Yes, but it must be dosed in the pediatric formulation.

Who should not take it (contraindicated)? Should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women, except in cases where the benefits are greater than the risks.

Who is it best for? This malaria pill might be best for you if you are concerned about side effects, as it’s generally well tolerated. Because it doesn’t need to be taken for long prior to travel, it’s ideal if you’re going to Kenya last minute.

 

Doxycycline

What is it? Doxycycline is an antibiotic belonging to the tetracycline class of drugs.

Where is it effective? Worldwide.

How often is it taken? Once per day.

How many tablets are needed in total? One tablet for each day of your trip, plus an additional 30 tablets.

How is it dosed before and after travel? One day before travel and 28 days after travel.

What are the possible side effects? Headache, nausea, diarrhoea, upset stomach, vomiting, and photosensitivity (skin more sensitive than usual to sunlight).

Can children take it? Only children over the age of 12 because it causes tooth staining in developing teeth.

Who should not take it (contraindicated)? Should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Who is it best for? Doxycycline is a good option for travelers on a budget. However, if you’re travelling with children under 12, you’ll have to obtain a different malaria tablet for them. You’ll also have to reduce your exposure to the sun, as doxycycline can cause photosensitivity. Doxycycline must be taken for nearly a month after travel, so this option is best for those who can remember to take a daily pill.

 

Mefloquine (Lariam)

What is it? Mefloquine is the generic name for an antiparasitic. It is sold under the brand name Lariam.

Where is it effective? Worldwide, but use with caution in Southeast Asia.

How often is it taken? Once per week.

How many tablets are needed in total? One tablet for each week you spend in a malaria zone, plus an additional seven tablets.

How is it dosed before and after travel? Three weeks before travel and four weeks after travel.

What are the possible side effects? Headache, nausea, diarrhoea, upset stomach, vomiting, anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.

Can children take it? Yes, but the dose needs to be adjusted based on the child’s weight.

Who should not take it (contraindicated)? Should not be taken by pregnant women and by anyone with a history of seizures, epilepsy, or psychiatric disorders.

Who is it best for? Because of the possible psychiatric side effects, this malaria tablet is the least prescribed. However, if you are someone who often forgets to take medication, the weekly dosing may make this the right choice for you.

 

Kenya malaria map

The malaria map of Kenya below shows that malaria is a high risk everywhere in Kenya. In fact, the entire country is considered a high-risk zone for Malaria, and the surrounding countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania are also at risk.

Kenya Malaria Map

How much do malaria tablets cost?

You will find the price of malaria tablets quite reasonable when you look at the health consequences of Plasmodium infection by alternative. Here’s a breakdown:

Malarone (brand name): Expect to pay at least £45.99 per week.

Atovaquone/Proguanil (generic Malarone): Expect to pay at least £22.89 per week.

Doxycycline: Expect to pay at least £9.99 per week.

Lariam (brand name Mefloquine): Expect to pay at least £39.99 per week.

 

Do I need malaria tablets for Kenya?

Kenya is not malaria free, so all travelers require malaria tablets to travel anywhere in the country. Malaria tablets are your best protection against infection.

Malaria tablets are very effective but do not provide a 100% guarantee against becoming infected. You should practice other strategies recommended by the NHS to reduce the chances of contracting malaria:

  • Use a strong insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (aka DEET).
  • When possible, sleep in a room with air conditioning and screens on the doors and windows.
  • Sleep with mosquito netting over the bed.
  • Treat mosquito netting with insecticide.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and other clothing that covers the body well. Loose-fitting trousers are preferable to tight-fitting ones and to skirts or shorts.

Choose the right malaria tablet for you and your family and you can enjoy your trip knowing you’ve taken the number one step to prevent infection and protect your health.


Whilst all of our content is written and reviewed by healthcare professionals, it is not intended to be substituted for or used as medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about your health, please speak to your doctor.