madaboutcheetah

Anti-Malaria medication? For the Okavango and beyond!!!

48 posts in this topic

Does this mean you would not get Yellow Fever shots too?
No problem with yellow fever shots.

 

There's good reason that certain drugs are only available by prescription, and I fully understand why our doctors refuse to prescribe a drug like Cipro for "just in case" usage.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am one of the people to contract Malaria whilst on Malarone and now rarely take it. Possibly for short visits.

 

I do take this though, Demel200, when in the Luangwa Valley and Towns.

 

I felt Malarial at Tafika, and following the spraying guide lines seemed to recover. Though it could have quite easily been something else too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are both Kenya and Tanzania included in the list for travel with requirement of Yellow Fever shots? or just Kenya?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will you all humor me if I revive this thread? I'm really curious if opinions have changed now that it is 6-7 years later? Maybe malaria is even less of an issue in some areas now?

 

I posted on another thread that I'm on the fence about taking Malarone (or tablets in general really). We are headed to Botswana (Okavango Delta) mid-April. Staying with Wilderness Safari in Chitabe, Little Vembura and Duma Tau. I think this should be the tail end of rainy season? Doc (that has never been) doesn't think we'll have an issue with malaria. Travel place recommends, but I'm skeptical. WS is vague. CDC says malaria zone. Husband thinks I'm crazy (he may be on to something there).

 

Second half trip in Kwazulu Natal (Rocktail & PHinda), which seems pretty much confirmed as a malaria area. We are scuba diving at Rocktail, so have learned to avoid Lariam; the good news is that Malarone doesn't appear to pose a risk for diving.

 

I suppose we could not take the tablets for the first half of the trip, but that seems silly to me. If I have to take it, seems to be sensible to just take the whole time. Or, am I missing something?

 

Thank you for humoring me in bringing an old thread back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@BJlock. I take Malarone because my wife gives me the eye whenever I talk about not taking it. If I did get malaria after not taking it I would never hear the last of it. To me it's up to your "risk appetite" and my wife's views mean any risk is too much for me to stomach, especially since I don't appear to have any reaction to Malarone.

 

To me this is perfectly logical.

 

Tell your husband that despite your ethical reservations and doctor's advice, you will take it for him. An interesting experiment to see how he reacts if nothing else.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will you all humor me if I revive this thread? I'm really curious if opinions have changed now that it is 6-7 years later? Maybe malaria is even less of an issue in some areas now?

 

I posted on another thread that I'm on the fence about taking Malarone (or tablets in general really). We are headed to Botswana (Okavango Delta) mid-April. Staying with Wilderness Safari in Chitabe, Little Vembura and Duma Tau. I think this should be the tail end of rainy season? Doc (that has never been) doesn't think we'll have an issue with malaria. Travel place recommends, but I'm skeptical. WS is vague. CDC says malaria zone. Husband thinks I'm crazy (he may be on to something there).

 

Second half trip in Kwazulu Natal (Rocktail & PHinda), which seems pretty much confirmed as a malaria area. We are scuba diving at Rocktail, so have learned to avoid Lariam; the good news is that Malarone doesn't appear to pose a risk for diving.

 

I suppose we could not take the tablets for the first half of the trip, but that seems silly to me. If I have to take it, seems to be sensible to just take the whole time. Or, am I missing something?

 

Thank you for humoring me in bringing an old thread back.

Take it for the whole time, plus the 1-2 days before and week after. Although malaria is treatable, if can be rapidly fatal and if you are in the middle of nowhere, it can take avery long time to get medical help....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with TD. You should visit a travel medicine person not only for the malarone but to make sure that your other shots and drinks are up to date. We have never gone to Africa without first consulting our travel med guy. And, we have always taken malarone or the generic starting the day prior and for the week following the trip. Why would you take the risk when it is so easy to avoid having a problem?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with @@marg @@Tdgraves and @@pault (I think my husband takes it for the same reason Paul takes it - to avoid my wrath if he developed malaria after not doing so!) - I've taken malarone on my two trips to Africa, having visited a travel dr. first and determined what were the malarial areas. Larium scares me and I personally would avoid it, having heard stories of bad reactions - including this harrowing story of a man who traveled to India on a Fulbright scholarship and lost all memory of who he was as a result of taking Larium - he wrote a book about it. http://www.amazon.com/The-Answer-Riddle-Is-Me/dp/0547519273

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please don't risk it. My daughters friend went to live in Kenya, got malaria and died. She was from the Scilly Isles in Cornwall, only 20 years old. Her Kenyan husband carried her to the nearest hospital but too late. C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Been to Africa twice now....summer and winter and I have not got bitten once by any insect....I can however sit out on my deck at my home in South Carolina on a summer's evening and get bite multiple times by mosquitos.....they are not the malaria carrying ones but they do itch....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If in doubt take it! I have always taken Malarone but have to agree it is horrendously expensive. I spoke to an English family who live in Nanyuki , they have two small children, the wife has had malaria but no members of the family take the drug or any other as long term effects especially for children can be dreadful. They just use creams and nets.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in Australia doctors are now prescribinf doxyciyline to raise general immunity, its side affect is that you are more likely to get sun burnt

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Malaria is no fun.

After 2 trips with out any noticeable bites I went to Selous & Mozambique without taking any anti-malarials. Guess what?

I felt unwell in Mozambique and went to a local clinic where they tested and said I DID NOT have malaria. I thought they should know what they were doing as it was a dedicated malaria clinic.

 

fever, chills. sweats, dizziness, headaches, hallucinations - I had them all.

 

Went to the doctor when i got home for tests. Wondering what it could be if it wasn't malaria.

he phoned me at 8am next morning (he phoned me at 8am next morning) and told me I had falicparum malaria and that I should go immediately to hospital.

I went to hospital where they put a quinine drip in one arm and a glucose drip in the other. I was in bed like that for 3 days.

 

My doctor told me that if I had left it another day the consequences would have been very serious. I was advised not to visit any malaria risk areas for at least 6 months.

He also told me that I need not bother calling him if I skipped taking anti-malarials again.

 

Anti malarial tablets don't taste great and they are not cheap but they are a hell of a lot better than malaria.

 

Take the tablets!

5 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Everyone, thank you so much for taking the time to respond. Yep, we'll be taking it the whole time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick tip on taking Malarone. I was prescribed and took Malarone for both Tanzania last year and Kenya this year. Last year I took it with no problems. This year, I was fine taking it in Kenya (took it after dinner, before bed) but when I started taking it here at the same time (lunch EST), I got horribly (intestinally) sick and had a headache that wouldn't quit for days. I figured it was just a matter of my mustering through the rest of the Malarone, and indeed it was. My doc recommended taking two spoonfuls of peanut butter with it. Malarone has a fat soluble ingredient in it, and my lunches were not fatty enough, apparently. Took the PB and that was the quick fix. I was symptom free thereafter.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The best way i have found is taking it with breakfast, so it has all day to get through the system prior to laying down. No side effects at all that way....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We take Mefloquine. Only one tablet per week (as opposed to daily) beginning one week before potential exposure, and then one tablet per week for 4 weeks following return. We've had no negative side effects

Edited by Alexander33

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Beats taking pills daily!

Edited by Alexander33

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@Alexander33

 

 

Beats taking pills daily!

 

 

Perhaps but only if you don’t suffer from any of the well known side effects associated with Mefloquine/Larium which obviously you don’t and quite a lot of other people don’t either, however for those that do the effects can be very serious. If you search the web you’ll find plenty of horror stories about Larium particularly in recent times in relation to the US military, this time last year US Special Forces Command banned elite troops from using Larium because of its alleged links to violence and suicides. Although the link is entirely unproven Larium was implicated in the case of US Army Staff Sergeant Robert Bales who murdered 16 Afghan civilians in 2012.

 

SGT Scapegoat? The Latest on Lariam and the Sergeant

 

Elite Army units to stop taking anti-malarial drug

 

Recently the FDA added a so called black box warning to Larium Mefloquine Hydrochloride: Drug Safety Communication - Label Changes Due To Risk of Serious Psychiatric and Nerve Side Effects

 

Most people who take Larium don’t suffer extreme side effects so if you’re not a soldier I would suggest it’s ok to take it and if you’ve taken it already with no ill effects then go on taking it. However if you’ve never taken it why take the risk when there are effective alternatives. Certainly I don't think many if any doctors here in the UK would still recommend Larium as the first choice for malaria prevention.

 

Generally on a typical safari the chances of contracting malaria are pretty small especially in the dry season; in my experience in your safari camp out in the bush you’ll hardly encounter any mosquitoes. But however small you believe the risk may be where you’re going, you have to remember that you only need to be bitten by one infected mosquito to get malaria. If that mosquito is carrying Plasmodium falciparum (cerebral malaria) by the time you realise that you are really ill and it’s not just traveller’s diarrhoea or flu if you’re back home, you could be in serious trouble especially if you are way out in the bush many hours from the nearest hospital or back at home in a country where most regular doctors have very little or no experience of malaria. Do not take chances with malaria, P. falciparum which is very common in Africa can kill very quickly and even if it doesn’t kill you I can tell you from experience it's very unpleasant and you really don’t want it.

 

The most important thing whichever tablets you’re taking is to complete the course. In the UK there are on average around 1,800 malaria cases a year of which an average of around 1,300 are P. falciparum leading to around 8-9 deaths a year. A high percentage of these cases are a result of people choosing not to take their remaining tablets once they’ve left the malarial country in the mistaken belief that they are now safe. This is why it’s very important to make sure that the tablets you’re taking do not cause you any serious side effects.

 

Although obviously people do suffer side effects from taking Malarone this is not as far as I’m aware a serious issue, certainly Malarone does not have the terrible reputation that Larium has. So I would always recommend Malarone or the cheaper generic Atavaquone + Proguanil ahead of Larium. The instructions recommend taking Malarone either with food or a milky drink and this is another reason why breakfast is a good time to take them, I always take mine at breakfast unless I forget and have not suffered any ill effects to my knowledge. I actually started taking Malarone at breakfast because one of the stated side effects is insomnia so I decided it would probably be better not to take them just before going to bed.

 

If for some reason you do really want to take Larium and have never taken it before then get two extra tablets and starting taking it 3wks ahead rather than the recommended 1wk, then if you do experience unpleasant side effects you can switch to another tablet. As I said earlier the most important thing is to take the full course so you don’t want to have to stop taking your tablets halfway through because of bad side effects.

 

Given that the original question was mainly about the Okavango I should say that very few of the malaria cases in the UK originate from Southern Africa the vast majority are from West Africa followed by East Africa. So for visiting the Okavango the risk is probably pretty small but I would still recommend taking tablets. For the ‘and beyond’ especially in Africa except for the Cape always take malaria tablets, unless you have already experienced very serious side effects from taking malaria pills it simply isn’t worth the risk. A possible upset stomach or a few sleepless nights however inconvenient is preferable to dying of cerebral malaria.

 

Imported malaria in the UK: statistics

Edited by inyathi
2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I just came across this thread.

At my first trip to Botswana I took Lariam, and I had terrible side effects, like nightmares, dizzines, and so on.

than, the next trip, I took Malarone. And: no side effects at all.

I take it with breakfeast, because in the evening I want to have a glas (or two) of wine!

 

I also read the Tripadvisor-Forum. And there it is written that Malaria Prophylaxis is the most important thing for Safaris, because so many people die of Malaria or suffer for years, even in Europe and USA.

 

Beate

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting thread. My partner had negative side effects with Malarone, so for our last trip, he switched to Mefloquine which I had taken previously without any problem. No side effects at all (not to mention no malaria, either). It's been fine for us, and I haven't detected any violent or suicidal tendencies in either one of us while we've been on it. But, obviously, talk to your doctor and take the medication that you feel is best for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On my first trip to Ghana I took Doxycycline as a prophylactic (prescribed by my travel doc and cheaper than the quinine based drugs) - it was awful. It causes sun sensitivity and it tore up my stomach. This time I took an herbal prophylactic, Sweet Wormwood - Artemisia annua - or artemisinin. There's another herbal tincture from a plant called Cryptolepsis that is also supposed to be effective. I had no side effects and I didn't get malaria...

 

I haven't been to East Africa, so I don't know if this applies to the eastern mosquitos, but in Ghana, they're tiny and when they bite it doesn't hurt. Very sneaky, those mosquitos...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.


© 2006 - 2017 www.safaritalk.net - Talking Safaris and African Wildlife Conservation since 2006. Passionate about Africa.