My daughter is leaving for Africa for 5 weeks on a mission trip. Is there a repellent that can be used to ward off these infected mosquitos? Also what can she do to stay safe and protected?
There is no way of warding off only those mosquitoes that are infected with malaria. However, insect repellents which contain DEET (10% or higher) are the most effective against the species of Anopheles mosquito that carry malaria.
From personal experience, I can tell you that “natural” insect repellants that do not contain DEET are just not as effective against these mosquitoes. Your daughter can also spray her clothing with permethrin, which repells insects, and she should wear long-sleeved clothing in the evenings, early mornings and at night, when the malaria mosquitoes are most active. She should also try to sleep every night under a long-lasting insecticide treated bednet, which drastically reduces the number of bites.
In addition, your daughter should look into taking anti-malarial preventative medication, known as malaria prophylaxis. There are a number of different types; the two most commonly recommended for Africa are doxycycline (cheap, effective, but can cause sun sensitivity and so people taking it must be vigilant about using sun block! It also needs to be taken for four weeks after leaving the malarial area) and atovaquone-proguanil (sold as Malarone—this is effective, and has very few side effects, but is often very expensive. It only needs to be taken for a week after returning home), both of which are taken as a daily pill with food.