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With over 30 years at the forefront of travel health, MASTA is proud to bring you alerts and topical information from across the globe. Make MASTA your one stop shop for expert advice, leaving you concentrate on what is most important… enjoying your travels.

Malaria Myths Debunked


Myth 1- “I was born in Liberia and moved away ten years ago when I was 17. I visit my family every couple of years and I do not need to take Malaria tablets as I have natural immunity for life”

This is a myth, and one of the most significant misconceptions regarding Malaria. Protective immunity is far from guaranteed and usually only applies (in a limited way) to those who were born and raised in the malarial country (at least to the age of 5), repeatedly exposed and have not subsequently lived away for more than 12 months at a time.

Myth 2- “I can’t use DEET on my 2 year old, DEET isn’t approved for use on children and is too strong to use”

This is a myth, DEET is recommended by the World Health Organisation for use on children over 2 months old although the concentration of DEET should be within 10 to 30% as opposed to the 40-50% concentration recommended for adults.

Myth 3- “I’m not taking Malaria tablets for my trip as I have left it too late so there is no point. Anything less than 6-8 weeks in advance and they won’t work”

This is a myth. It is recommended for travellers to seek travel health advice at least 6 weeks in advance of travelling however there are malaria tablet courses available which can be taken a day or two before departure. Even if you have not had time to take them for the recommended time before you depart, it is still better to have begun a course than not to have taken any precautions at all.

Myth 4- “I eat my fair share of garlic and marmite so mosquitoes don’t come near me. I don’t need to protect myself from Malaria using medication as I just don’t taste nice to Mosquitoes”

This is a myth. Mosquitoes may be more attracted to some people more than others but garlic and marmite are no match for them. The only proven way to help protect yourselves from Malaria is bite prevention and antimalarial tablets (chemoprophylaxis).

Myth 5- “The side effects of taking malaria tablets are far worse than Malaria itself”

This a myth. Malaria can be fatal, it can take just one bite to contract the disease and whilst some side effects can occur, some travellers experience none at all. The one thing we do know is that malaria tablets if take correctly, combined with bite avoidance and other precautions can save lives. At all tablets are suitable for everyone but there are usually alternative tablets to choose from.

Always seek travel health advice before you travel, and know the facts. Visit for more information, try our vaccine checker to look at the recommendations association with your journey and don’t take risks with your health.

Tags:malaria, myths, DEET, vaccine