Can anyone give guidance on malaria risks in Luang Prabang? We'll be visiting during the first week in February, flying in, spending all our nights in Laos there, and going no further afield than daytime boat trips on the Mekong. I know that malaria is a risk in some places in Laos but are preventative medicines needed for Luang Prabang? Should hotel rooms have window netting? Should we bring our own? Grateful for any informed advice. Prefer to avoid anti-malarial medicines.
#1 EdwardTrunk has been a member since 7/9/2013. Posts: 35
You are unlikely to contract malaria there; Dengue fever on the other hand is a real risk, although that risk is lower during dry season, which is lucky for you.
Make sure to cover up at night and use repellent, and be especially careful if you climb Phousi Hill, since there are a lot of daytime tiger mosquitoes there which are carriers of dengue. If you are entering any wooded/jungle area just be careful about getting bitten but in the town itself you should be fine.
Good hotels will usually have decent window netting, and if you have aircon then that keeps mosquitoes out too.
Whatever the risks of contracting it or not are, I would advise you to cover up, use spray and take tablets (not Malarone but the other one that is recommended, name escapes me).
#3 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
Good advice up top -- agree dengue fever far more of an issue than malaria in Luang Prabang -- our researcher in Laos last year came down with it most likely in Luang Nam Tha, though it hit home in Luang Prabang.
Feb is getting towards the end of the dry season so I wouldn't expect mozzies to be a huge deal anyway. Some hotels will have mosquito nets, though more out of decorative instincts than necessity.
I wouldn't be taking pills for a short Laos trip that was only taking in Luang Prabang -- if you were heading to more remote areas, for a prolonged period, perhaps. Better to use repellent etc.
Dengue mozzies bite in the early morning -- more info on it: from personal experience, I don't recommend dengue!
#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,767
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in general, you don't need to worry within the cities at all. Any hotel over $10 will have screens and the actual risk of contracting these illnesses within the developed areas is very, very slight. The location and timing of your visit couldn't be better, and it's just not something worth the worry. Buy some repellent on the go if you feel like booking a trek deep in the bush, but that's all that's required. :)
For those traveling to places with an actual risk, I recommend the lowest dose of the antibiotic doxycycline. It is effective for malaria prophylaxis, but also protects against delhi belly and many kinds of basic foodborne illness, and so is good for the traveler.
#5 LaoLover has been a member since 7/10/2013. Posts: 5
Thanks very much everyone. That's been very helpful. We shan't take anti-malarials but concentrate instead on mosquito repellent - and read up on dengue fever symptoms, which was something I'd never thought about at all.
#7 EdwardTrunk has been a member since 7/9/2013. Posts: 35