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Malaria?

Discussion in 'Bay Islands' started by NorthernMelody, Dec 18, 2006.

  1. NorthernMelody

    NorthernMelody Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Ari Atoll, Maldives
    291
    15
    Ok what's the scoop on Malaria on Utila. I am taking the malaria meds right now, but I don't like them one bit. Can I get a general consensus as to wether it is a perceived or an actual health threat there?

    Only 5 more sleeps!!!!
     
  2. Dave Zimmerly

    Dave Zimmerly Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Pittsburgh, PA
    695
    5
    All it takes is one bite.

    Yes, from what I have read and heard it is a very real possibility. In addition to the malaria meds, you should also have a tetnus booster, Hep A, typhus and polio. We always have our immunizations up to date and always take the malaria meds when going to Roatan. It is recognized by the CDC and WHO as a place at risk for malaria.

    My girlfriend is a nurse practioner at the Pittsburgh VA. She has seen first hand the effects of malaria. Not a pretty sight.

    Bite the bullet, take the meds and feel safe. Also take some high-power DEET.

    Regards,
    Dave (aka "Squirt")
     
  3. NorthernMelody

    NorthernMelody Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Ari Atoll, Maldives
    291
    15
    Ok, thanks, I have the rest of the stuff up to date, including yellow fever and I am taking "ducalor"..I think that's how to spell it. I'm hoping my 6 month say shall be uneventful.
     
  4. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member

    5,721
    463
    Hi NorthernMelody,

    Here's a brief article I wrote for the Aug '05 issue of Undercurrent http://www.undercurrent.org/


    "Malaria and Divers:Even in Róatán there’s a risk.

    Malaria kills more people worldwide than any other communicable disease, except tuberculosis. A parasitic disease transmitted by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, malaria’s symptoms include extreme exhaustion, high fever, shaking chills, muscle aches, diarrhea, and vomiting.

    Make no mistake, it can be a nasty disease. And, while savvy divers traveling to Southeast Asia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Solomon Islands take a prophylaxis, malaria is closer to home than you think, e.g., Central America, even the Bay Islands of Honduras.

    Lorin Zaret, originally from Long Island, New York, and now a massage therapist on Róatán, was bitten by mosquitoes on the island during Christmas week last year. Two weeks later she thought she had food poisoning, with chills and a fever of 104 degrees. She told Undercurrent, “I became very sick. I hallucinated, threw up repeatedly and had diarrhea. I could hardly raise my head off the pillow to go to the bathroom. Every bone hurt me. I lost my appetite completely and lost 15 pounds.” Despite malaria treatment, she indicates that, “I have not quite felt myself since.”

    In Honduras, the Center for Disease Control says there is risk in rural regions, including resort areas, on Róatán and the other Bay Islands. Mdtravelheath http://www.mdtravelhealth.com/ says that historically the incidence has been greatest in swampy regions of the east end, but that the number of cases reported from the north has risen dramatically over the last several years.

    Recent studies suggest that components of perspiration, especially those described as “smelling like a horse barn,” rank high among cues that attract mosquitoes. If true, keeping a low odor profile may help prevent malaria. This means showering and changing clothes often, using unscented soap, shampoo and antiperspirant and wearing no fragrances. Most important, regularly apply full strength DEET.

    The CDC also recommends antimalarial medication in known risk areas. Contact your primary physician or nearest tropical diseases/travel medicine clinic well ahead of your trip. State and local health departments may be of assistance in finding a center.

    Happily there are effective medicines, including chloroquine and doxycycline. Lariam (mefloquine) should be taken by divers only after weighing the potential risks and benefits. It can cause hallucinations, anxiety, depression, confusion, forgetfulness, seizures and balance disturbance that may both threaten a dive and mimic DCI. A newer drug, Malarone (atovaquone & proguanil), provides similar coverage to Lariam, and in some locations superior protection, and has a more benign side effects profile.

    For Honduran and other Central American risk areas, which include inland Belize, chloroquine works. It’s user-friendly, taken weekly, starting one-to-two weeks before arrival and continuing for four weeks after departing the risk area.

    Do your research, tell the prescribing physician you are a diver, and whenever possible allow for an adequate topside trial to assess for adverse reactions, because all these drugs have side effects. Some useful web sites are: CDC Travelers’ Health-Health Information: http://www.cdc.gov/travel/camerica.htm ; International Society of Travel Medicine: http://www.istm.org ; American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH):
    http://www.astmh.org/scripts/clinindex.asp. – Doc Vikingo"


    The first step on malaria prevention is to avoid getting bitten by an infected mosquito. In this regard, to following should prove informative:


    Avoiding Insect Bites
    http://www.awoosh.com/Doc Vikingo's Resource Page/Avoiding_ Insect_Bites.htm


    BTW, the drug you seem to have been prescribed, "Dukalor," is an oral, inactivated cholera vaccine for the prevention of cholera and traveler's diarrhea.

    Helpful?

    Season's greetings.

    DocVikingo

    This is educational only and does not constitute or imply a doctor-patient relationship. It is not medical advice to you or any other individual and should not be construed as such.
     
  5. Trixxie

    Trixxie Dive Charter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Madison, Ga
    1,225
    0
    Thanks for the info, was just looking into this today. Wow so Malaria, yellow fever, typhoid, Hep A, polio and tetnus.... Can anyone say how about a nice dive in the keys??
     
  6. NorthernMelody

    NorthernMelody Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Ari Atoll, Maldives
    291
    15

    I am on an anti-malaria meds the dukalor was just a recommended vacine thathelps to prevent travelers diarhea.

    Helpful?

    Yup mucho thanks!!!!

    Season's greetings.

    CJ
     
  7. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member

    5,721
    463
    Just remember to minimize exposure to mosquito bites. One can tend to get sloppy after many months on-island.

    Have fun and season's greetings.

    DocVikingo
     
  8. NorthernMelody

    NorthernMelody Assistant Instructor

    # of Dives:
    Location: North Ari Atoll, Maldives
    291
    15
    Can you get...is it worth while to try to find the treated mosquito nets for a bed?
    I hear that that's when it happens more often than not.
     
  9. Bay Island Diver

    Bay Island Diver IDC Instructor

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: Roatan
    518
    21
    If you are going for two weeks take Malaria meds, if you are going for months don't bother with them, Malaria there isn't that bad, you would be very unlikely to get it and if you do this particular strain is not as bad as everyone makes out. I was only in bed for three days when i got it and have only had malaria once in three years there.

    The treatment is Chloroquin and Farmaquin (sp?) anyway, so why take the pills to stop yourself getting it when you can just wait and see if you do, and then take them!
    The most important thing is to recognise it quickly if you are unlucky enough to get it. The headache is a dead give away - you will never experience a headache like it! The kidney pain and fever is also a good hint but the headache comes a day beforew the fever. I am not a doctor and expect a load of doctors to now flame me!

    You don't actually need Yellow Fever for Honduras, I don't think.
     
  10. GoProHonduras

    GoProHonduras Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Bay Islands, Honduras
    351
    51
    Will´s correct, in the long run it can do you more harm than good to be on the medication.

    There´s very little cases of Malaria on Utila, mainly dengue, but again just dress sensible when the bugs are out and use environmentally friendly repellant.

    Regards,
    Andy
     

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