Malaria-Free Safari?

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Dec 7th, 2004, 01:34 AM
  #1
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Malaria-Free Safari?

This is probably a stupid question, but should we be worried about malaria at Kruger National Park? I don't want to take those little pills, but I don't want to get sick, either ... thanks!
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Dec 7th, 2004, 01:36 AM
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Oops, I forgot to mention we are planning a trip in January - the most humid time of the year!
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Dec 7th, 2004, 04:14 AM
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The Kruger Park is a high-risk area for malaria at that time of year and prophylaxis are recommended. See the map at http://www.malaria.org.za/Malaria_Ri.../risk_maps.htm, then go to the Information page at that site. Also download from the latter page the .pdf file with information from the S.A. Department of Health.

There are three choices of drugs for that area:

Malarone: Highest cost, and a daily tablet.
Mefloquine: Best known brand Larium, in S.A. if is Mefliam, a weekly tablet.
Doxycycline: Also a daily tablet.

You can about the pros and cons of those drugs in that DoH document. Any of them will significantly reduce the risk of catching Africa's deadliest disease.
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Dec 7th, 2004, 04:16 AM
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". . . in S.A. it is Mefliam, . . ."

"You can read about the pros and cons . . ."
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Dec 7th, 2004, 04:18 AM
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sandi
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Traveling when it is hot and humid is definitely "mossie" weather. But it always comes down to a personal decision to take or not to take. However, you should know that while the "little pills" are not an inoculation with a probable guarantee that you won't contract Malaria, that is not the case with the pills. Should you be bitten, and should you come down with malaria, you just might not as ill as if you hadn't taken the pills - but it's still no guarantee.

If your physician has prescribed Malarone it has little if any side effects if taken properly daily with food, preferably dairy products - milk, yougurt. Unlike the earlier meds - Lariam which cause strange side-effects for most everyone, Malarone seems no worse then a sugar pill.

But Malarone has to be taken starting two-days prior entering an infected area (Kruger), during your stay and for seven-days after leaving the infected area. And, of course, you should remember the repellent with Deet on exposed skin during period between dusk to dawn, "mossie biting time" - also to wear long pants, longs sleeves, socks.during these hours. Depending what kind of accommodations you're staying at, if repellent spray is provided, spray your room or tent; likewise if mosquito netting is provided, sleep under it.

Take the word from two friends who came down with malaria years before these meds were available, you don't want to chance coming down with Malaria. It's a nasty desease with more then a million people dieing annually worldwide. Even with proper care, it stays with you in some form or another for years after.

Unless there is some physical reason that you cannot/should not take these meds, it's a good idea to do so.

 
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Dec 7th, 2004, 04:23 AM
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Further to Arthur SA's comments -

Lariam is the pill that has been know for the weird side-effects (strange dreams, restless sleep, etc.) and not recommended for people who have heart problems or incidents of mental illness in the family.

The doxycycline is a generic antibiotic and not specific for Malaria. It is important to know that while cheap, this has to be taken daily while in-country and then for 30-40 days after leaving the infected area. Side effects reported by women is yeast infections.

Yes, Malarone is expensive, but if you have a drug plan, it might not cost more then $50, otherwise, figure in the range of $100 for about 21 pills.
 
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Dec 7th, 2004, 04:55 AM
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Been there, done that, have the T-shirt to prove it. Had malaria, that is. When I was a child, before I was responsible for taking my own meds. My mom and I got it in winter, when my parents thought it was safe to suspend the meds. We lived close to the Kruger National Park. Malaria is not a disease you want to get. I don't like taking meds either, and I live as drug-free a life as possible. But malaria is one of those areas in which there is absolutely nothing to recommend a "natural" lifetsyle.
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Dec 7th, 2004, 07:50 PM
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As an alternative to Kruger, do any of you (or anyone else out there for that matter) have any notable experiences with non-malarial game reserves such as Madikwe. One of the persons in our party is pregnant and is uncomfortable taking the anti-malarial meds.
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Dec 8th, 2004, 12:36 AM
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Thanks everybody - guess I'll be taking the pills!
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Dec 8th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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Mtea, I have not been to Madikwe, but have heard good things about it. I see you've received answers about it in another thread, if not more than one thread.

Another good game reserve in a malaria-free area is Addo Elephant National Park, not too far from Port Elizabeth. It is a particularly convenient solution for someone who wants to combine Cape Town and the Garden Route with wildlife viewing.
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