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#45492 - 11/15/01 12:51 AM Shots? Medicine?
H-Bomb Offline
My girlfriend and I are traveling to AC at the end of December to celebrate the new year and we were wondering if it is recommended to get some type of shots before traveling to Belize?

I have been to Belize several times, but I am curious about getting preventative shots>

Thanks for the help!

#45493 - 11/15/01 12:59 AM Re: Shots? Medicine?
rickcheri Offline
Not needed!!! Rick

#45494 - 11/15/01 10:49 AM Re: Shots? Medicine?
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline
Few visitors to San Pedro take any special precautions or get any sticks (though tetanus and Hep A and B are a good insurance policy wherever you travel, or even if you don't travel).

Malaria is a problem in some areas of the mainland, mainly in the far south and border areas, but I would say 95%+ of people who visit on the cayes take no malaria prophylaxsis and malaria cases among tourists anywhere in Belize are rare as hen's teeth.

On my last lengthy trip around Belize I did come down with what I believe was a mild case of dengue fever, but I did not have that confirmed by a doctor. There is no preventative for dengue, and treatment is basically rest and taking Tylenol.

--Lan Sluder
Belize First http://www.belizefirst.com/
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#45495 - 11/15/01 01:07 PM Re: Shots? Medicine?
ckocian Offline
Your shots should all be up-to-date so no Belizeans catch anything from you :-)

#45496 - 11/15/01 03:47 PM Re: Shots? Medicine?
Marty Online   happy
none in our family ever get any shots.
many many trips...

#45497 - 11/15/01 10:03 PM Re: Shots? Medicine?
silkpainter Offline
Ditto on the tetanus shot, and Hep A (can get infected ANYWHERE-not just in Belize from food hadlers not washing their hands after using the bathroom) Hep B is sexually transmitted. There is malaria in Belize, its not comon on the island, however it does exist. Best prevention for malaria, is to not get bit. Wear your mosquito repellant especially at dusk. And make sure to reapply it often. I cant wear repellant, it makes me sick, so I use a mixture of lavendar essential oil in with Neutrogena body oil. Lavendar is a natural insect repellant, but cant be used full strength. It also repells sand fleas. I would use the Avon Skin So Soft, but I havent been able to get it here. Mosquitos are not a problem as long as the tradewinds are blowing.
--Silk www.caribbean-colors.com
-Lee Vanderwalker-Alamina

#45498 - 11/15/01 10:13 PM Re: Shots? Medicine?
silkpainter Offline
Not to give you my whole medical history and gory details, but.... since we're talking about malaria and illnesses in Belize... here's a litle update on what the doctors in the U.S. diagnosed me in January as "Mosquito Borne Menningitis" that they thought I caught while in Belize. I got really really sick again about 6 weeks ago and had to be airevacuated to Belize City with the same symptoms that I presented (in the U.S.) but I saw a Belizean doctor at Medical Associates - a private hospital in Belize City. He diagnosed the problem as kidney failure. The kidney had became very infected and it went systemic, into my spinal cord and brainstem, and I almost died. He treated me with IV antibiotics of rosephrine for 3 days and I went back to San Pedro. I did a combination of traditional medicine (antibiotics) and bush medicine (herbs for the next 5 weeks and I feel o.k. most of the time and I've recoverd much much quicker than I did in January with the "menningitis". So, the doctors in the U.S. were WRONG all along, I did not have mosquito borne menningitis caught while in Belize, I have a chronic kidney problem. It took coming to Belize to finally get a proper diagnosis and treatment. Also, I had no complaints about Medical Associates (except for the bill). It was the cleanest hospital I've ever been in, the most attentive nursing staff I've ever had. I feel very comfortable with their care and competence. I've been back in for follow up care and I'm doing fine.
--Silk www.caribbean-colors.com

[This message has been edited by silkpainter (edited 11-15-2001).]
-Lee Vanderwalker-Alamina

#45499 - 11/15/01 10:59 PM Re: Shots? Medicine?
Lan Sluder/Belize First Offline

I know you mean well, and you are usually well informed (and I am also sorry to hear about your kidney ailment), but what you just said about malaria not being common in mainland Belize is the kind of misinformation that I worry about being spread on the Internet.

The fact is that over the past decade or so Belize has had one of the highest incidences of malaria on a per capita basis in the hemisphere and perhaps in the world. The actual number of reported cases varies year to year but it is usually several thousand, six or eight thousand, in a population of 240,000. In 1994 it reached 10,000. Thatís about one of every 24 people in Belize.

A September 2000 study by Wayne D. Usher for the Government of Belize reported that Belize had the highest per-capita infection rate for malaria in the Western Hemisphere.

Another study concluded that Belize had the highest incidence rate in Central America, at 40 cases per 1,000 population.

Now, having said that itís also a fact that these cases of malaria are not common in areas where visitors are likely to go. They are concentrated in southern Belize and in remote areas of the west. And they are concentrated in areas where there are sizeable numbers of immigrants, sometimes illegal immigrants, from Guatemala and other neighboring countries.

Itís also true that the malaria strains in Belize are not usually life-threatening and the only prophylaxsis needed is choloroquine.

But that doesnít make them any the less real.

Have you spent much time on the mainland? In areas such as Toledo or rural western parts of Orangewalk or Cayo districts? Those places are VERY different from Caye Caulker and San Pedro, and malaria is present.

--Lan Sluder

Belize books and publications by Lan Sluder:
Belize First Magazine http://www.belizefirst.com/
Fodor's Belize and Guatemala Guide
Belize First Guide to Mainland Belize
Adapter Kit: Belize
Fodor's UpClose Central America
Belize Book of Lists 2000
Lan Sluder/Belize First

#45500 - 11/19/01 11:52 AM Re: Shots? Medicine?
silkpainter Offline
Lan, I had to read your post through 2x to get the meaning. In my post I said that malaria is not common on the island, I didnt mean to mislead anyone into thinking that there was no malaria in Belize. There IS, along with dengue, hepatitis A, typhoid, parasites, bacterial menningitis, worms, bot flys and so much more. I understood the original question only addressed Ambergris Caye and the threat of malaria here. I can see I was not specific enough. I dont want to appear to be giving frivolous advice.

Thank you for the facts on Malaria in Belize, Lan. These kinds of things are underreported. Living here, I can't take the malaria medicine for any length of time, its just hard on your body to take it months and months, so I do my best with a constant mosquito vigil. It is a concern.

I do have a bit of advice to any traveler coming to Belize (from my own experience) If you get sick while you're here, see a Belizean doctor. They are well familiar with the ailments we encounter in this tropical environment, and a doctor from your hometown may have no clue on what to do. When I got sick after being in Belize in December, I saw 4 different doctors in Detroit, one was a tropical disease specialist, and got misdiagnosed every time. As a side note, San Pedro has a lab where they can run some blood work, its in Dr. Giovanni's office.

If you're on Caye Caulker, the health clinic is free but has a donation box. The doctor is very thorough, she's Cuban and on a humanitarian mission from their government. You might not be able to get your prescription filled there though, but have to get it in San Pedro or Belize City. Caye Caulker has such limited resources. Also, the clinic will take ANY kind of donations, but cash works.
-Lee Vanderwalker-Alamina


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