Malaria in Mae Hong Son?

Oct 19th, 2004, 11:18 AM
  #1  
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Malaria in Mae Hong Son?

Hi All,

I have enjoyed reading your threads and advice on places to go throughout Thailand. I was there for the 1st time last October, and will be going back for my honeymoon in late November. We will be staying in Bangkok (Marriott Resort and Spa) for 5 nights, then Chiang Mai (Tamarind Village) for 3 nights, and Mae Hong Son (Fern Resort) for 2 nights before returning to Bangkok and on to Singapore for another 5 nights. We have read extensively on sights, etc., but are looking for firsthand info on the prevalence of malaria in Mae Hong Son. Is this something we should really worry about in the Fern Resort area, and are anti-malarial pills more trouble than they're worth (i.e. side effects)? Mae Hong Son falls into the region identified by the CDC as "malaria-infested", but my hope is that this is more conservative than realistic. Also, is it better to book domestic flights with Thai Air before going or wait until we're there? Thanks in advance for you help.
shoretools is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 11:35 AM
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You have the info that you need. The cdc incidence/prevalence data is the best available and it is updated regularly.

Go talk with a travel medicine specialist. Together you can decide whether to take an anti-malarial based on your individual medical status and exactly what you will be doing. If you are prescribed an anti-malarial, you won't be prescribed larium, which is the anti-malarial with all the bad publicity about side effects. Indeed, with such a short stay, malarone (which has very few side effects) will likely be the first choice.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 01:20 PM
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Would agree with Kathie's post- seek professional advice!

Malaria is a serious health risk that kills still is one of the world's biggest killers.

The only side effects is that some of the tablets are extremely bitter and some can make you feel a little sick if you have them on an empty stomach. Larium (mefloquine) I believe is rarely prescribed these days.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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I am allergic to Chloraquin (my lips puff up like I've had an overdose of collagen!) and I don't like taking antibiotics so I take Bushman's DEET spray with me everywhere. We had no mosquito problems in July last year at Fern Resort probably because we took mosquito coils and burnt them in our room and used DEET spray whenever we went out of our room. We always wear long cotton pants and shirts at night in a light colour, also no perfume or aftershave! After you get all the medical advice make up your own mind and also use DEET! Have a wonderful honeymoon. You have picked a some mighty places to visit!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Oops, should stress

When I say "the only side effects", I mean the only side effects I have experienced.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 04:22 PM
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I think I had side effects from malarone, and I stopped taking it in Thailand. I read instructions and it was exactly as I experienced - nausea, stomach ache, etc.. And we tried to analyze if I ate something - but we were extra careful and in Thailand we only ate in good places. 4 Seasons too.
So it must be malarone.
emtravel is offline  
Oct 19th, 2004, 06:20 PM
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if you feel that there is a danger then i would not rely on deet and burning coils....they are far less than a guarantee...
talk to you doctor
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 02:50 AM
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I have tried Doxycyclene which is what is prescribed here in Australia,but it gave me constipation to put it nicely, so I gave up after three days.

I think the best is to stop yourself getting bitten by mosquitoes in the first place. Apply skin lotions when out of doors and wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors in the evenings between 6pm and 8pm which are the worst times.

I have been to Thailand many, many times and taken the above precautions with good results - but I am not the ideal snack for a mossie anyway because of my blood type: .15 Sangthip content.

Harzer
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Oct 20th, 2004, 03:35 AM
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rhkkmk was laughing at me at my wardrobe preparation but there is a new type of clothes for tropic, and we bought few shirts from exofficio catalog, the breathable long sleeve clothes, which does not let you sweat too much, some ventilation fabric.
In addition, they just came up with material which has ingredient in fabric called BUZZ-OFF and it supposed to keep mosquitoes away. We wore it in areas in CM (elephants camp). Not sure if that helped, but we were not bitten.
emtravel is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 07:56 AM
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i have read that "buzz-off" clothing has larger bugs imbedded in it which eat the mosquitos before they can get to your skin...do you think that could be true?? these larger bugs also carry a can of super deet to spray the approaching bugs....great stuff...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 20th, 2004, 08:08 AM
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Kathie is correct in that you should discuss this with a travel medicine professional. It seems that while BKK and Chiang Mai are relatively free of mossies, the border areas don't appear to be - therefore, the CDC recommendations. The final decision to take Malarone, will be yours and yours alone.

Just be aware that mossie-biting time is between dusk to dawn, when you should be wearing long pants, long sleeves and use repellent containing Deet on exposed skin.

And while there is still no inoculation for Malaria (though apparently there is one in the works that looks promising) - taking malaria prophylactics is still no guarantee you won't get bitten and come down with malaria. If you do, the benefit of having taken the prohylactic is that the episode will be less toxic then if you had not taken the pills. But even that is no guarantee.

While some people take the generic doxycycline, which is less expensive, these have to be taken way longer then Malarone.

In the end, Malaria isn't like the common cold, it can be deadly. So it's now in your hands.
 
Oct 20th, 2004, 06:13 PM
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shoretools-as you are probably already aware-antimalarials are no guarantee of one not contracting malaria. So says my Doc. All the more reason to have a back-up plan, I think! Get some DEET and the mosquito coils-you don't have a lot to lose by being prepared. Both are relatively inexpensive and worked for us. I was not suggesting you rely solely on either or both of these measures; I was simply stating they appear to have worked for us as we are malaria-free (according to our recent blood tests). harzer makes a logical considered reasonable statement-"stop yourself getting bitten"!! Good luck!
Lyndie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 06:07 AM
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Yes, you certainly do want to prevent mosquito bites, as malaria isn't the only disease a mosquito might carry, Dengue is an increasing problem in many areas.

While no medication is 100% effective, taking the appropriate anti-malarial (in this area, malarone or doxycycline) as per the directions is approximately 98% effective.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 09:18 AM
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kathie---i've been wondering , if i may ask...how do you know so much about medical stuff??

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 10:18 AM
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Bob, I'm in healthcare and worked and taught at a major teaching hospital for many years before I went into independent practice.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 21st, 2004, 10:31 AM
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i thought that might be the case...so the only person who knows more about health on this board than you is spygirl...right??

karen is a nurse at bidmc, a harvard teaching hospital in boston...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2004, 07:04 AM
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aaahhh, who can forget spygirl? She has been quiet for a while though.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Oct 31st, 2004, 06:23 AM
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unless you are trekking near the border, you don't need meds for malaria. if you do decide to take meds, doxy is the recommended med for the area. 100 mg a day 2 days prior, during and one month long after leaving exposed area. readily available in thai and cheap. they are resistant to other meds. i've taken doxy w/no side effects. disadvantage of taking anti malaria meds, is if you do get infected, the meds may mask the symtoms, thus you contract a more serious case since meds to treat were not administed early enough. nov is dry and cool, so the threat of mossie should be less. dengue fever is more of a threat in thailand, 4 different strains, so 4 chances to get. but again, dry, cool, wrong season for mossies, just take the appropiate precautions and you should be fine. long pants and sleezes and deet if worried. they are working on a dengue vaccine, but not until next year at earliest.
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