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#143622 - 04/24/02 03:15 PM Malaria?
Aqua Offline
Is everone taking chloroquine to prevent Malaria before their trip to Belize?

I heard they can make you a bit sick so I'd love to not have to take them.

#143623 - 04/24/02 11:44 PM Re: Malaria?
trina Offline
What type of malaria meds you take depends on where you go...believe it or not. There are different strains, certain kind in jungle, another kind in the cayes. when we went to our doc, they wanted to know our itinerary. Also, you have to take the malaria pill once per week, starting at least one week prior to leaving(I think, dont' quote me on that, but I know it was prior to our leaving for Belize)and continuing for once per week for several weeks. Whether or not to take it at all is another qhole question. We've been two years in a row and have always taken the pills. We have a friend who is doc who doesnt' do any immunizations at all...go figure.

#143624 - 04/25/02 01:22 PM Re: Malaria?
Aqua Offline
thanks for your reply trina. i took the pill yesterday. i figured it's better to be safe than sorry.

#143625 - 04/25/02 03:54 PM Re: Malaria?
sweetjane Offline
this is my third trip. never took anything.

#143626 - 04/25/02 07:41 PM Re: Malaria?
susangg Offline
Whether to use prophylactics is a risk-benefit analysis question. You need to evaluate the malaria risk in the parts of Belize you are going to, the type of travel you will be doing, and your current health and susceptibility to adverse reaction from prophylactics.
Unfortunately, public advisory resources do not provide that analysis and therefore, their info is suspect.
My opinion, based on the info I have, is that the risk of catching malaria if your vacation is to be limited to a beach vacation on Ambergris Caye is very close to zero (nothing is ever zero). That is because the number of people who have malaria on AC is relatively small (and usually limited to people who have recently arrived from other parts of Belize and especially from other Latin American countries). Because there are so few residents with malaria for mosquitos to bite and thereby become vectors, there are very few known instances of visitors becoming infected. Also, most resorts and hotels spray regularly. In the dry season there is not much standing water; the biggest buggie nuisance is no see ums and they are not malaria carriers.
I have never used prophylactics and do not plan to in the future for visiting AC.
There is quite a bit of malaria in the Toledo and Cayo Districts, primarily in poorer areas. Here again, there are few if any known instances of tourists catching malaria in tourist resorts in those areas.
Most of the foreigners who have gotten it have been people who were taking extended trips into the bush and camping out If I was doing that, I would take a chloroquine prophylactic. I do not do so for visits to Cayo resorts.
Also, I am unaware of any choloroquine resistant malaria in Belize, so the more deleterious anti malaria prophylactic should not be prescribed under any circumstances (this is a dangerous drug with many side effects; choloroquine can cause side effects but less frequently and less deadly.)
If you are going into an area that has a lot of "bush" and standing water, you can protect yourself by wearing long pants and shirts and dousing yourself with "Off" or some other substance that contains DEET. Do that if you are bike riding or walking in the jungly areas outside of town.
Susan Guberman-Garcia, Attorney at Law. Phone: 510-792-2639
Fax/Voicemail:: 510-405-2016 Email: susangg@garcia.mpowermail.com

#143627 - 04/26/02 10:53 AM Re: Malaria?
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
I think Susan's comments are spot on.

Like Susan I have not heard of chloroquine-resistant strains in Belize and the CDC recommends chloroquine for Belize, where it says (the CDC tends to be very conservative) there is a risk in all areas except Belize City.

Personally, I've been banging around Belize for about a dozen years and have been to just about every nook and cranny. I usually DO take chloroquine when I am in the far south and usually do not when I've just on the cayes or in Cayo, but chloroquine is safe, relatively cheap insurance and certainly one should pay attention to what the CDC and one's doctor says. Few if any expats in Belize take any malaria prophylaxsis, but I do know some who have had malaria. I personally don't know of any tourist who has gotten malaria in Belize but probably that has happened at least a few times.

In a separate message I'm posting the current information on malaria in C.A. and Mexico from the CDC (www.cdc.gov)

--Lan Sluder
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#143628 - 04/26/02 11:56 AM Re: Malaria?
Aqua Offline
thanks lan and susangg!!

#143629 - 04/26/02 12:53 PM Re: Malaria?
mayatravel Offline
Just the facts:

As per the Natl Malaria Service in Belize:

Year 2000: about 2000 cases
Year 2001: 1000-1200 cases
They are expecting malaria rates to drop to 600 cases in 2002.

We have two types of malaria here: vivax (93% of cases) and falciparum. Vivax is the mildest of the two, but none require hospitalization.

If you are pregnant and get malaria, treatment is a fraction of the regular dose until after delivery.

Most cases were found in the immigrant population in Toledo or Cayo along the Guat border.

Katie Valk
Maya Travel Services


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