Up north at the Pafuri Picnic Spot there is a bench overlooking the Levuvuh river. On the bench is a little memorial plate for a lady named Heather Zietsman. I don't know the full details but from what I could gather she passed away after contracting malaria. A grim reminder to all who visits Pafuri.
Do you know of someone who have fallen victim to this decease after contracting it in Kruger?
I personally know of quite few people who have picked up malaria in Kruger but who were fortunate to live to tell the tale.
Did she actually contracted malaria at Pafuri or was the memorial bench as so many others just placed in one of her most favourite spots in Kruger?
Ones risk of contracting malaria inside of Kruger is much lower than contracting it in any of the directly bordering towns. One has to remember that the "malaria risk" of an area is based on the number of confirmed cases in a area that may span many towns and not necessary a geographical area such as for example Kruger NP.
Below a link to an scientific article titled "Risk of malaria in visitors to the Kruger National Park, South Africa"
This is a 1996 study performed in April which historically is the month with the greatest number of reported malaria cases in South Africa. 1996 according to the article was also the time of the most extensive malaria outbreak in the area in 10 years (average 70% more cases than the 2 preceding years). Having done questionnaire surveys for scientific articles before the response rate in this survey was very good and even above the norm.
The article presents some interesting findings such as:
1) 4.5 out of 10 000 visitors contracted malaria (one unconfirmed case included) = 0.05%
2) Of these:
2.1) 3 stayed in bungalows and 2 in campsite (not statistically significant)
2.2) 3 used prophylaxis and 2 did not (not statistically significant)
2.3) 2 visited other high risk malaria areas before or after Kruger (1 Mozambique, 1 Comoros)
3) Additional preventative measures did not statistical significantly reduced the attack rate
One can also contract malaria in a malaria free area as the February 2012 outbreak
in the Tshwane district proves. If you have an infected human and female Anopheles
mosquito in the same area there will always be a risk of malaria transmission.
Does all this mean you do not need to be vigilant? Definitely no, but be aware you may run a greater risk of contacting malaria while buying bread in White River that in a rest camp in Kruger due to the greater concentration of possible infected human host in town than in Kruger.