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Malaria? (Long!)


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#1 lyrebard

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    Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:13 PM

    Hi everyone.

    I've been to Yucatan peninsula a couple of times, both times venturing outside of Cancun down toward Akumal, Tulum, and further south. At no time did I even think about malaria.

    My grandparents (aged 88 and 89) will be coming down to the area for our wedding, and recently went to their doctor to make sure they were all medically prepped for the trip--tetanus shots, etc. Their doc mentioned something about malaria pills, prompting me to first tell them, "No, of course you don't need them!" and then to say, "Hmm, on second thought, lemme check." I went to the CDC website, and discovered that malaria prevention with Malarone or something similar was recommended in many areas south of Cancun.

    Now, we'll be staying in Akumal, getting married in Tulum, and traveling to Coba and Sian Ka'an with day trips. Many of our guests will be accompanying us to all these places, and many of them will have small children or compromised immune systems. Every single one of these sites is listed on the CDC website as areas of potential malaria exposure. But a different page on the CDC's site they contradict this information and instead write this:

    Malaria risk area in Mexico: Risk is limited to areas infrequently visited by travelers including small foci along the Guatemala and Belize borders in the states of Chiapas, Quintana Roo, and Tabasco; rural areas in the states of Nayarit, Oaxaca, Sinaloa; and in an area between 24°N and 28°N latitude, and 106°W and 110°W longitude, which lies in parts of Sonora, Chihuahua, and Durango. No malaria risk exists along the United States-Mexico border. No malaria risk exists in the major resorts along the Pacific and Gulf coasts.
    (Health Information for Mexico | CDC Travelers' Health)

    So, all this said, what do we tell our guests? Get a prescription for Malarone? Take your chances with mosquito repellent? As one or two DR brides have mentioned, the thought of adding malaria prevention to our "Get ready for Mexico!" letter seems like quite the reality check. But I also don't want to worry our friends and family unnecessarily.

    Have any of you given this more than a passing thought? Am I giving this too many passing thoughts?

    #2 rodent

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      Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:21 PM

      This was the paragraph after the one you posted:

      Risk is very limited; therefore, prophylaxis is not recommended for most travelers to Mexico. Travelers should use personal protection measures such as insect repellents for malaria prevention. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for the rare traveler going to the risk areas.

      I have decided not suggest my guests take the medicine. It can suppress the immune system which could put them at risk for something else. There are also many side effects. The parasite that causes malaria is more frequently becoming resistant to the drug so taking it when not necessary could increase this problem.

      I just plan to encourage plenty of bug spray.

      #3 MelanieS

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        Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:22 PM

        When we went to Nicaragua we took malaria meds. Night-biting mosquitoes spread malaria and day-biting ones spread dengue fever. The medication costs about $30. Using a mosquito repellent with deet in it helps. We have never taken the meds for travel in Mexico (Puerta Vallarta and Cancun).

        #4 rodent

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          Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:28 PM

          Quote:
          Originally Posted by timelsel
          When we went to Nicaragua we took malaria meds. Night-biting mosquitoes spread malaria and day-biting ones spread dengue fever. The medication costs about $30. Using a mosquito repellent with deet in it helps. We have never taken the meds for travel in Mexico (Puerta Vallarta and Cancun).
          intesting. then we shouldn't have to worry because we wouldn't be in Coba at night.

          I just went to a really interesting talk about malaria today. They have engineered bacteria & yeast to produce malaria medication to reduce the cost of the medication.

          #5 MelanieS

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            Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:34 PM

            Mandy developed a reaction to the medication that made her continually sick to her stomach. She found out you can take acne medicine (sorry, don't remember which one, but it was a prescription) that also prevented malaria. Go figure!

            #6 rodent

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              Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:36 PM

              Doxycycline

              it's an antibiotic. I guess it kills acne causing bacteria & the parasite that causes malaria.

              #7 MelanieS

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                Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:37 PM

                Yep, that's the one and it's cheap. No effects plus it gives you beautiful skin!

                #8 lyrebard

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                  Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:43 PM

                  Quote:
                  Originally Posted by Morgan
                  This was the paragraph after the one you posted:

                  Risk is very limited; therefore, prophylaxis is not recommended for most travelers to Mexico. Travelers should use personal protection measures such as insect repellents for malaria prevention. Chemoprophylaxis is recommended for the rare traveler going to the risk areas.
                  Sorry, should have posted that, too. oops!

                  I'm just still haunted by the other CDC site that actually listed substantial-enough risk for Akumal and Tulum. So strange... But I'll trust the limited risk, the night-versus-day info, etc. and just place my faith in strong mosquito repellents. =)

                  And yeah, they're doing some really cool stuff in malaria research!

                  #9 rodent

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                    Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:49 PM

                    Quote:
                    Originally Posted by lyrebard
                    Sorry, should have posted that, too. oops!

                    I'm just still haunted by the other CDC site that actually listed substantial-enough risk for Akumal and Tulum. So strange... But I'll trust the limited risk, the night-versus-day info, etc. and just place my faith in strong mosquito repellents. =)

                    And yeah, they're doing some really cool stuff in malaria research!
                    Yeah, the night vs day information makes me feel a lot better about it. Plus, isn't malaria cureable? Would it be that big of a problem if we did get it? I think it's just such a huge problem because people can't afford the medication. Which is what made the research I heard about today so awesome. Malaria treatment is $2.50. In some countries the government spends $4 per person per year on health care. So $2.50 isn't practical. They are getting that cost down to 10 cents with the new technology.

                    What day are you going to Coba? We are going Friday morning.

                    #10 MelanieS

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                      Posted 21 March 2008 - 07:54 PM

                      We've known several people that have had malaria and dengue fever. Neither is a picnic - alot like really bad flu, high fever, aches, etc. Usually takes several weeks to get rid of and need to be under a doctor's care.




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