Photo: Fisherman returning to Ko Tarutao.

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malaria

Posted by nackia on 21/2/2008 at 18:06

I was wndering if anyone actualyl took malria tablets before travelling through south east asia. I've read the frequently asked questions and it says you generally dont need it, and i wont really be travelling to any remote towns maybe day trips out from the capitals in Laos Cambodia Vietnam.
I had a friend who had severe side effects so now im in 2 minds i certainly dont want malaria.

#1 nackia has been a member since 15/2/2008. Posts: 8

Posted by celianz on 25/2/2008 at 14:35

We are taking them but have been going further afield than it sounds like you will be. We are only taking the antibiotic one "doxycycline" and the only side effect that we have experienced is that it is easier to get sunburnt. Doxy also protects you from some of the tick diseases etc. My boyfriend has had malaria before so we were easy to convince!! Doxy's are fine, apart from taking them on a full stomach so that you don't feel ill there is nothing else to them. Better to be safe than sorry if you are concerned, but we have not yet heard of any Malaria case throughout our travels.

#2 celianz has been a member since 15/12/2007. Posts: 16


Posted by wendo on 6/9/2008 at 06:36

I took my malaria tablets with me and never used them. I travelled around Thailand, Cambodia and Laos from February to May. I think the best measure is insect repellant and long trousers and long sleeves at night.

#3 wendo has been a member since 14/8/2008. Posts: 10

Posted by idreamofdurian on 6/9/2008 at 08:22 TF writer

If you're going to be sticking to the capitals and tourist trail then your risk of malaria is quite low.

Malaria carrying mosquitoes only bite at night, so spraying your feet with repellent and sleeping under a mosquito net is your best defense if you're concerned.

Most important for travel health is to get a Hepatitis vaccine (for food and drink borne viruses) and an antibiotic you can take in case you have a bad reaction to the food or water.

#4 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576
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Posted by SBE on 6/9/2008 at 20:13

Doubt if you need to take anything for what you are doing nackia. Almost all tourists do side trips like you are planning to do and I've never met or heard of a single one who caught malaria.

I've been in very remote endemic areas of SE Asia for months and didn't catch it even though I wasn't taking any anti-malarials. However I DID catch malaria several times while living in Africa....even though I was taking WHO recommended prophylaxis. The risk in SE Asia just isn't comparable to that in Africa.

Most "prophylaxis" doesn't actually prevent you from catching malaria... it treats infected red blood cells. You could take doxycycline if you really want (cheap, no reported resistance and relatively well tolerated) but you'd have to take religiously according to instructions for it to be effective... ie not only for the entire duration of your trip but also for a month after you leave any endemic areas... so that it can kill off any malaria parasites that have been developing in your liver once they get into your blood. Doxy works too slowly for it to be a cure you if you do get severe malaria symptoms though.

I'd just stick to DEET repellents if I were you ... your risk of catching malaria is really minimal and you can get treated if you do get it... 3 days ACT (Artemisinin Combination Therapy) only available in hospitals AFAIK but it doesn't sound as if you are going to be stuck miles away from a hospital for days on end during your trip. You can always hop on a plane to BKK and be in a world class hospital within hours if you want.

Dengue is much more of a risk and there's been a lot of that this year. There is no treatment for that and the only way you can protect yourself is by not getting bitten by an infected mosquito. The mosquito species which transmits Dengue is a day time feeder ...particularly voracious just after dawn and just before dusk so don't forget to apply DEET then either!

#5 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,037
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