Insects in Panama

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Mar 16th, 2005, 12:55 PM
  #1
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Insects in Panama

We're heading to Bocas del Toro and Volcan Baru area in Chiriqui in 2 weeks. Can anyone advise what the insect situation is likely to be and suggested precautions.

thanks for any responses
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Mar 17th, 2005, 05:53 AM
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Great question--would love to hear experience of others
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Mar 17th, 2005, 09:35 AM
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Bring the DEET, and use it liberally and often. Get the anti-malarial medications ahead of time too.

Some folks might say you don't need 'em, but I personally think you do.

By the way, when you get off the plane in Panama and are standing in line at immigration to get your passport stamped, take a look at the sign on the wall to the left of the booths. It advises you that headache, nausea etc. are signs of dengue (another nasty mosquito-borne bug), seek medical help....and oh yeah, bienvenidos a Panama!

Have fun!
Mark
www.tiogringo.com
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Mar 17th, 2005, 10:02 AM
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Ditto to Tio Gringo. Insects are part of the experience and his counsel is good. I always take the anti malarial. When I lived there I took the Yellow Fever shot, but do not now for short trips.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 12:01 PM
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We used 3 M's Ultrathon rec by CR for the Darien in '03. Worked great when the Africanized Bees swarmed those without "protection".
I, too lived in Panama, and had the Yellow Fever vaccine, but recently, the vaccine has caused a few very serious, often fatal reactions in those over 60 y/o and those with "thymus" problems.
I have never taken malaria prophylaxis and never had malaria nor dengue, but you don't want either.
We are seeing a small upsurge in Typhoid among middle and upper classes in Central MX - no obvious source, so probably water/irrigated fruits and veggies (less of a problem during the rainy season).
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Mar 17th, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Mark,
Are there any particular areas in Panama that have a greater risk for malaria? I've thought about taking those malaria pills, but I' m concerned that they have a lot of unpleasant side effects in some people. On our first trip next year, we probably will end up spending most of our time on the Pacific side and in the highlands.
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Mar 17th, 2005, 12:40 PM
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Check www.cdc.gov
Different recs reflect diff strains (Vivax, Falcip...etc.) and variable drug resistance.
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Mar 20th, 2005, 03:54 PM
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The U.S. Gov. CDC web-site will have a map or designate areas that they recommend vaccinations for. The mosquitos weren't bad when we were there, but it all depends on the season. I got most of my bug bites while in Bocas and they were the no-see-ums, not mosquitos. So bring an anti-itch cream also for the after effects.
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Mar 23rd, 2005, 06:45 PM
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We were in Bocas for 4 days and Guadalupe for 3 days towards the end of Jan last year. Adult males were bitten equally at the beach as in the highlands (mainly early morning, and dusk and evening when there's pretty much daily "bajareque"--very fine drizzle). Kids who were sprayed liberally w/Off Skintastic (7% DEET) were hardly bitten.

Specifically in Bocas del Drago beach there seemed to also be annoying sand fleas. Not so at the other beaches (red frog, zapatillas).

I also echo the suggestion of anti-itch cream. We didn't have any with us and my spouse was miserable until we went to a pharmacy back in the city.

mikemo: does Ultrathon contain DEET? I'm looking for an effective alternative to apply on my young daughters (going back to PMA/Bocas in Dec '05). Tnx.
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Mar 24th, 2005, 07:00 AM
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dtong,
Yes, Ultrathon is a long lasting DEET repellent.
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mikemo is offline  
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May 25th, 2005, 11:35 AM
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I'd like to know also about the insects. How did your trip go?
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Jun 29th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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I was in the Peace Corps in Panama for two and a half years. Only certain parts of Panama have Malaria, namely Bocas, San Blas, Colon and Darien. I wouldn't take malaria meds unless you plan to go to those places. Also, the areas in Bocas where most tourists go are not the areas that have Malaria. On the other hand, where some friends of mine lived in a remote part of Bocas, the government treated everyone for Malaria because so many people had it that it was easier to treat everyone than to test for it. Another little tidbit to know about is leischmaniasis, a flesh eating disease that you can pick up in remote areas. I got it on my ankle and it was rather annoying to get treated, to say the least. It's carried by a sand fly that lives in certain areas. You shouldn't be concerned though; the scary stuff generally doesn't exist in the tourist locales.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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A question, actually -- I'm on a cruise to Panama, Belize, Costa Rica -- should I be thinking about shots? Only in port about 7 hours during the day in each spot.
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Jun 29th, 2005, 12:32 PM
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Check the CDC website for travel immunizations.
Also, I received the August CR today:
CDC recommended non Deet REPEL (oil of lemon eucalyptus) performed really well and looks to be longer lasting than the Cutter Advanced (Picardin) which is also a CDC rec non Deet repellent CR reviewed in July.
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