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Ask MetaFilter questions tagged with malaria

Questions tagged with 'malaria' at Ask MetaFilter.

Published: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:10:43 -0800

Last Build Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:10:43 -0800


How important are all these vaccines for Peruvian travel?

Fri, 18 Apr 2014 16:10:43 -0800

I will be spending a month this summer in the high jungle plateau of Tarapoto, Peru. I am trying to get my preventative care in order, and will be getting Hepatitis A and typhoid vaccines, as well as taking anti-malarial medication. I don't think I will be getting the yellow fever vaccine, the Hepatitis B vaccine, or the rabies vaccine; the first due to lack of access and the latter two due to risk factors and cost, respectively. Would you try harder to find access to the yellow fever vaccine or rethink the other two, or am I good with the three I'm doing? I have been advised that I should try to get the yellow fever vaccine by my local health department, but neither my doctor, the health department, nor any of the regional pharmacies (Walgreens, etc.) can get it to me due either to not having it (health department) or not being authorized to dispense it (doctor, Walgreens, etc.). How worried should I be about not getting this vaccine?

Also, I will be taking several excursions into the jungle and will be deliberately seeking out wildlife to observe/photograph/draw. The CDC somewhat iffily recommends getting the rabies vaccine. I can probably get it, but it costs about $300 and I've hard it's also painful/laborious. I'm leaning towards not getting it.

Finally, the health department thinks I should get the Hepatitis B vaccine, but I'm not planning on any risky behavior (unprotected sex/needles/tattoos) so I'm also leaning against it due to cost and risk.

Thoughts on all the above?

Illness in the US, but magically, no healthcare!

Fri, 11 Apr 2014 17:58:26 -0800

I just returned from West Africa and have a number of symptoms consistent with malaria - or the flu. I have no healthcare, through circumstances beyond my control (I'll elaborate) until May 1. When is it worth it to go to the doctor to get tested? How can I try to keep this from being a pre-existing condition, given that it may be the recurrent form? I was in West Africa for about 10 months in a malarial environment and got back to Ohio about two weeks ago. I was taking prophylaxis, but stopped about a week ago. Starting on Sunday, I've had recurring headaches, body aches, fever, chills, general fatigue, and sweats, usually lasting about half the day and interspersed with feeling pretty perky for the other half of the day. The highest fever I've recorded this week was 102.9; I've also been down to 98.3 during times when I feel good. Ibu profen levels the fever down to around 100, usually, and controls the muscle aches. This could conceivably be just the flu, or malaria. I find the timing suspect if it is just the flu, but I did a lot of international and domestic flying, too.

Due to a registration issue, my university canceled my health insurance during spring semester without notifying me, although I signed up for health care for the full year. I didn't find this out until Tuesday, which was after the Affordable Care Act closed. I registered for short term health insurance as of Wednesday (April 9) through Blue Cross blue Shield, but it turns out it doesn't go into effect until May 1. My university health insurance kicks back in on May 5. They are not interested in pro-rating me this month. Normally, my advisor would be all over this, but he's at a conference in Canada and I haven't been able to get in touch with him. He gets back sometime next week?

The infectious disease specialists have not been helpful, and are not interested in letting me skip a visit with a referring physician despite my sketchy healthcare situation ("We don't just GIVE blood tests to everyone who thinks they have an infectious disease!"). Right now, I'm feeling pretty miserable and would really like to get treated, but I don't want to have some sort of giant recurrent malaria pre-existing condition following me around for the rest of my life. Looking at the application for short term coverage, it says "to start April 10," but it's not confirmed that I have it yet. Can I use that at a doctor's office or hospital? Any other thoughts? Currently, laying on the couch with two gallon jugs of water on either side of my face because my face is really hot, waiting for my boyfriend to bring me a new thermometer.

E-mails at

What vaccines / meds do I really need to go to India?

Tue, 04 Mar 2014 09:34:16 -0800

I have an appointment with a clinic to get some vaccinations before a two-week trip to India. My initial chat with the nurse made me feel like she was maybe pushing the "better safe than sorry" angle a bit, so I'm looking for some other opinions and links to good resources for making these decisions on my own. We'll be in-country for 10 days (starting this Friday), 7 of those in Bangalore, the remaining 3 in either Bombay or Aminabad.

First, yes: I've visited the CDC's travel vaccinations page for India and also this ancient AskMe. Based on what I read there, my thinking is Hep A/B and Typhoid for sure.

I'm a bit on the fence as far as the Malaria meds go. Leaning towards, although some of the folks in our group got recommendations that it wasn't worth the trouble, so I'm skeptical. The clinic also said they recommend taking an antibiotic to try to prevent traveler's diarrhea.

So, given that travel itinerary, what info can help me make the most informed decision? Are there good reasons not to take the Malarone? Good reasons TO take the antibiotic?

Accepted: You're not my doctor, probably not anyone's, and I'm not looking for medical advice, which I should only get from my doctor.

Switch to Malarone from Chloroquine now that I'm home?

Tue, 17 Dec 2013 11:57:51 -0800

Hello YANMDs, can I switch to Malarone (and only take it for one week as opposed to 4....) now that we're back? Or do I have to stick to the same drug? Hello YANMDs,

I've been taking Chloroquine for Malaria prevention as I was in the tropics for a few weeks. Now I'm home and we're supposed to take it for another 4 weeks. I'm not loving how I feel, and I suspect the Chloroquine has something to do with it.

Can I switch to Malarone (and only take it for one week as opposed to 4....) now that we're back? Or do I have to stick to the same drug?

In retrospect I would have gladly paid the extra for Malarone.

I will of course have a doctor officially approve the switch, but wanted to know if it's even feasible.

Thank you.

Doxycycline ramp-up time - sanity check

Sun, 15 Sep 2013 10:02:52 -0800

My wife and I are traveling in Malaysia at the moment (and going on to Thailand afterwards), and brought along prescriptions for Doxycycline for Malaria protection. Doxy takes some time to start taking effect, can I get a sanity check on our instructions? The label on the bottle says to start the daily regimen two days before entering a Malarial region, and continue for four weeks afterwards. However, info online seems to assume a week or two of lead-in time.

We started the regimen Saturday, and are hoping to go hiking further inland on Tuesday (dramatically increasing our potential exposure). Is there a reasonable chance the prescription instructions are wrong, and we're not actually protected?

Malaria medications for pregnant women

Wed, 28 Aug 2013 08:33:30 -0800

YANMD, YANAD, etc. I need to sort out the differing opinions on malaria medication for pregnant women. I have to go to a malarial area in ten days. I will be 14 weeks pregnant. In my current country (South Africa), I have gotten a pretty slash-and-burn response to asking for malaria meds: basically I have been told that I cannot go and if I do I risk death in a fiery inferno. I am waiting for a response from my doctor in the US, but in the meantime, I was hoping for some help sorting out the myriad of conflicting information out there.

Assume I have to go. I prefer not to get into a debate about whether I should or should not go. What malaria medications can I take with a minimum of risk? Should I even take them? Is DEET and long pants and nets enough protection?

The area is northern Botswana and it is low-risk season, but a higher risk area. The US State Department cites very few cases of malaria among government employees that spend time in the bush and the delta.

managing long-term malaria exposure.

Mon, 02 Jul 2012 21:41:12 -0800

Going to Kenya for ten or more months. How should one approach antimalarials for this length of time? Lots of antimalarials seem to have possible nasty compund side effects from extended use.... Is it better to just take chances and treat the malaria when it comes, or take one drug or another for the duration?

Have I got malaria?

Fri, 10 Sep 2010 17:08:54 -0800

Have I got malaria? Cheap places to get tested in new york city? Hi! Just got back from 2 month trip to Kenya one week ago nairobi most of the time, visited the coast for our last week, and have developed fever (102º), headache, nausea this morning w/one episode of vomiting. tendon and abdominal ache/sore muscle 'pain' (did visit the climbing gym tuesday, three days ago)
We took Malarone the required number of days before we went to malaria areas, and took our last pills today. My partner has been experiencing some of the GI side effects of Malarone (we assumed thats what they are), and I thought thats all i had too, but the fever has us worried.
oh, and of course i have no health insurance. welcome back to the usa!
Located in brooklyn, could go to ER, methodist is close, but would like a cheaper option if possible. any ideas? Do need to go the ER tonight, safe to wait until morning? is this only a flu like i desperately want it to be?
thanks thanks thanks!

Is going to PNG for two weeks a bad idea in the first trimester of pregnancy?

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 07:40:37 -0800

I have just been asked to go to Papua New Guinea for work for about two weeks. Issue is, I just found out I'm pregnant. Should I still go? I've been to PNG twice now (Port Moresby and Mt Hagen) so mostly know what I'm in for. However this time I imagine I would have to do a bit more traveling around, visiting urban settlements and talking to locals in their homes (I'm working on a health research project). I would probably be in Port Moresby for a bit, then travel to either Mt Hagen or Lae.

I just found out that I’m pregnant. Yay! But it’s super super early (ie about 5 weeks).

I’ve been to visit my travel doctor already, and he suggested that I should try to see if I could get out of it. His advice was that malaria is a real problem in PNG, and that it is a place where it is quite easy to catch things that can be seriously bad news for pregnant ladies. I kind of agree. But a doctor is never going to say, ‘just be careful and you’ll most likely be fine’.

But on the other hand, it’s not like I’ll be trekking the Kokoda trail or anything. I would be staying at relatively decent hotels and travelling mostly by taxis. However I would probably have to eat a bit locally, which doesn’t thrill me as last time I came home with giardia.

Apart from all the other nasties floating around there (dengue, cholera, swine flu), I really don’t know how to consider the malaria situation. Last time I was there (Feb this year, it was raining a lot) I didn’t take anything, I didn’t see a single mosquito and all was well.

I know that YANMD, but I would love some advice on how to make my decision. I’d really rather not have to disclose the pregnancy to work at this early stage. I also don’t want to be a pregnant princess unwilling to leave my castle grounds. But I also don’t want to be blasé about the potential risks.

Advice, comments and anecdotal reports very welcome. Thanks.

Additional info: I had the Typhoid vaccine about this time last year, but my Hep A-C shots are not current. Anonymous because I haven’t announced that I’m pregnant to anyone yet, and would prefer to tell people directly, rather than have them find out through askmefi.

Are these anti-malaria (malarone) pills safe to take overseas?

Thu, 08 Jul 2010 13:18:45 -0800

TravelFilter: When does Malarone (anti-malaria medication) expire? I have some tablets from a trip to India that I would like to bring with me for to Indonesia for Aug 2010 - Aug 2011. They were filled January 2008. The label has rubbed off the bottle so I cannot determine the expiry date. Can anyone tell me if these pills are still safe and effective? New pills cost about $5 each, so if they are probably fine then it will be a big money saver!

Also, should I have a pharmacy replace the label for me (do they even do that?)

Should I tell my friend's doctor about his misdiagnosis?

Sun, 02 Aug 2009 07:19:47 -0800

My friend was misdiagnosed by our pcp. The doctor thought he had the flu, and it turns out he has severe malaria. He's currently in the icu fighting for his life. Many flight attendants see this doctor, and I feel they might be at risk. Should I let the doctor know what's happened to my friend, or will he not be able to discuss his medical history with me? My friend is unable to talk at the moment, much less contact
the doctor himself, and for various reasons his family is
not involved. Thanks for the advice.

Am I going to get rabies?

Wed, 15 Aug 2007 07:55:38 -0800

I'm going on vacation in two weeks...the vacation was planned sort of on a whim about a month ago, and one thing I hadn't considered was vaccines. Now, being a worrywart and knowing I have hypochondriac potential, I am freaking out wondering if one of the planned activities is too risky. Please help me decide whether I should cancel this activity, or whether I am being insane. We are going on a Western Caribbean cruise and one of the stops is Belize, where we have planned to go on this jungle walk + cave tubing excursion. Last week, I read something that reminded me to check about any required or recommended vaccines.

After reading the CDC's Travel page for Belize, it seems to recommend both anti-malaria stuff as well as a rabies vaccine if there is a risk of exposure.

I know from reading about the excursion that there will be a place that we go through that has bats. And I know bats are major rabies carrier. So is potentially being near sleeping bats in a cave during the daytime and a walk through the jungle a significant risk?

I know I don't have time for any sort of vaccinations, but I'm panicking so much that I'm considering cancelling this activity and hiding out on the cruise ship with a daquiri under some mosquito netting.

I'm a lot more concerned about rabies, because I fully plan on dousing myself with mosquito repellant.

Please let me know if you think my worries are unfounded, or if you think it is better to be safe than sorry and not go into the jungle or caves.

Should I be concerned about missong a dose of my anti-malaria medication?

Fri, 15 Dec 2006 07:59:11 -0800

I just returned from an extensive road trip through Southern Africa including many malaria-prone areas. I took the anti-malaria medication Malarone once a day but missed a dose on the plane home. I received three mosquito bites in Mozambique (a malaria-prone country) the last day of the trip. Should I worry about contracting Malaria? Will the missed dose reduce the medication's effectiveness? I'm trying not to freak out but I would really like to know whether there is legitimate reason for worry here. I'm particularly concerned about the missed dose as one is supposed to take the medication for a full seven days after returning home.

Also does anyone know how likely it is for a mosquito in a malria-prone area to be carrying malaria?

Advice for India travel? (Health protection)

Sun, 08 Oct 2006 17:52:43 -0800

I am traveling to Kolkata for a week around Christmas. I am researching shots/meds requirements and am coming up against recommendations for malaria protection. I'm reluctant to use doxycycline or Lariam. I'm looking for personal experience info about the different options. Other travel advice, tips, or recommendations are also welcome!

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs vs. Malaria?

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 19:45:51 -0800

Years ago in Italy I was watching late night network tv, and they used to love to show really strange stuff for insomniac viewing... Anyway, I saw then an odd Disney public service cartoon that was probably produced right after WWII with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs about how to prevent malaria. You know, like telling Dopey to dump standing water out of abandoned tires and the like. Has anybody ever seen this too? Know where I might be able to find it (and others like it?) Or did I just dream the whole thing?? :-) Thanks!!

Tell me about your malaria.

Fri, 27 Jan 2006 09:02:58 -0800

Does anyone have a personal experience with malaria? Would you care to share it?