Malaria meds necessary?

Old Dec 11th, 2006, 05:20 AM
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Malaria meds necessary?

We are so excited as our long dreamed-of first trip to Africa gets closer! We are going on the OAT "Safari Serengeti" which goes to Arusha, Sinya, Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Serengeti. We'll mostly be staying in tented camps.

We went to a travel Dr. in 2004 before a trip to SA and had the Hep A, Typhoid, Yellow Fever, & Tetanus shots which are still good for this trip. We are seeing our regular GP this week to get anything else we may need. He is a good internist, but we're not real sure he knows about travel med. We looked up the recommendations on the but still have questions. Do you recommend a polio shot for this trip? Someone told us that malaria would not be a problem in the areas we are going to. I have heard so many stories about bad reactions to the malaria med and would love to not take it if possible. However, we of course, don't want to be stupid about it either.

Thank you again for all the help this board gave me planning this trip so many months ago, can't believe it is almost here! Sue
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Old Dec 11th, 2006, 05:51 AM
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Malaria is a nasty disease... over a million (mostly children) die yearly worldwide.

Altitude and cold temps help in the mossie problem, they don't fly high and not happy with cold weather, so when you're traveling (month) and where can impact whether "malaria wouldot be a problem in the areas you are going."

There are a few meds - Lariam, Malarone and doxycycline. The Lariam has been around the longest and the one that most people have problems - disturbed sleep, weird dreams, psychotic episodes, etc. Malarone is the newest, with few side-effects. And doxy is an antibiotic that some opt for.

All have pros and cons, how many pills, when to take, how often, with/without food, etc. etc... and, of course, cost.

The newer Malarone, is the one many are taking these days. While costly, it's easily tolerated by most. Doxy which is inexpensive, though has to be taken the longest and side-effects are sun sensitivity and women may come down with thrush (discharge).

Even if you cover up during mossie biting time (dusk to dawn) and use repellent, no guarantee some critter won't find you. I prefer to be safe than sorry.

But, you have to discuss with your physician, based on your own medical history to arrive at what's best for you.

Polio! While technically eradicated, there are still outbreaks. The single shot taken now will protect you for the rest of your life.
Old Dec 11th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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I'm a physician and can endorse Sandi's advice. Don't be put off by the fear of side effects. They are uncommon, transient, mild and in all cases better than the alternative. Just for your own information, nearly all of the professional guides in the regions you are traveling to have, or have had, malaria. Does that tell you someting? Enjoy your trip.
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Old Dec 12th, 2006, 04:41 AM
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Hi Sue,
I just returned from OAT's other trip (best of Kenya and Tanzania). While the mosquitos weren't as bad as I feared, Tarangire had a lot in the evening, and it was reassuring to know I was taking my malaria meds.

I know that the CDC site can be confusing, but you need to double-check it for the list of which Malaria meds are recommended for this region (i.e. the ones the other posters already mentioned, but it doesn't hurt to understand for yourself).

The reason to check is that some of the older meds no longer work in Africa, as the bug has become resistant, and if your doc is not a travel doc he will not know which one to prescribe, and may choose the old one.

It's not as complex as it sounds. Find the list of approved meds, reject the one that has side effects that concern you, and discuss the remaining option(s) with your doctor.

Have a great trip.
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Old Dec 14th, 2006, 04:46 PM
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You have chosen a GREAT safari through OAT! YEAH! They contract with KIBO in country and KIBO guides are very well known for being great SPOTTERS. I am excited - and very envious! Have a great trip & take your anti-malaria. Some good Chinese doctors have great meds but stick with traditional western meds. Malarone is one I've taken the last 3 times I've been there. I've never noticed side effects from it.
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Old Dec 15th, 2006, 12:14 PM
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Yep, let me add to the malarone data base. We took it in Zambia, and had no problems. Yes, it is expensive, and yes, we took it with food, and yes, virtually every one of the managers/owners of the different camps had had malaria at one time or another.

Wish I had bookmarked the website, but I found a medical report on the net that went into detail re. Malarone effectiveness and side effects vs. doxy and Larium for the types of malaria common in central/southern Africa. Malarone won by a significant margin.

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Old Dec 18th, 2006, 04:35 PM
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Thank you for all of your good advice and Africa excitement. We saw our GP, got a script for Malarone and have to see a travel doc for polio shot. We leave Jan 26, very soon!!! I really have to get into the Christmas mode also but can't stop thinking about Africa. Sue
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