Hey, i heard about the above on the radio yesterday. Is this anything to worry about? I had planned on being in Cambodia in november
The short answer is NO!
The long answer has two explanations.
The BBC article referred to an area of Pailin, which is neither on the tourist trail, nor a desirable place to go as the area is said to be chocka with land mines.
Antimalarial drugs fall generally into four categories:
(a) Hemozoin inhibitors: these prohibit parasitic life-cycle development by denying access to red blood cell nutrient - and are generally based on quinine (type) chemical structures.
(b) Antifolates: these inhibit the metabolism of the parasite - and are either blood plasma binder (eg. biguanides) or parasitic enzyme blockers (eg. Sulfadoxine).
(c) PfATP6 inhibitors: these are plant based (though chemically reproduced) products initially developed by Chinese herbalists (and refined by US Army research as a drug of last resort) that restructures the calcium/iron structure of the parasite, so inhibiting reproduction. These drugs have a very short lifespan of action - and are referred to as Artemisinins. This is the drug referred to in the bbc article, and resistance has also been noted in French Guiana.
(d) 'Other' combinations: these more recent drugs fall into three groups
(1) the tetracyclines - that block parasitic nutrient uptake (eg. doxycycline),
(2) a mefloquines - that impact on the central nervous system of the parasites (eg. Larium).
(3) atovaquones - this is a new type of drug that interrupts the parasitic regulatory activity (eg. Malarone).
History shows that malarial parasites have developed an immunity to most antimalarial drugs. The World health Authority advises that the 'artemesinin family of drugs' should ever only be given as a last resport. However, they are freely available in SE Asia and are often inappropriately taken as a malarial preventative (which they are not).
Most western medico's have swallowed the pharmaceutical company hype that western tourists NEED to take doxycycline or mefloquine tablets as a malarial preventative. Sadly, neither doxycycline nor mefloquine do NOT PREVENT MALARIA. Rather, the drugs inhibit certain malarial actions. A person taking doxycycline or mefloquine has a much reduced risk of malaria (but not 100% reduced). Sadly, the medico's NEVER WARN the person of the side effects.
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From my research, I take a course of Malarone with me. Yes, its expensive, but my life is worth more than the cost!
If I was to develop malarial symptoms, I start the Malarone and get to a decent hospital as quickly as I can.
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So, in a nutshell, be informed about malaria, but don't get hooked up on the hype.
Hope this helps