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Malaria #15434
11/15/02 10:28 PM
11/15/02 10:28 PM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 7
swimmergirl Offline OP
swimmergirl  Offline OP
FOR YOUR INFORMATION: After our trip of a lifetime last February to Belize, my husband developed Malaria about 6 weeks after our return. Our trip was a one-week kayak trip (camping) and then 2 weeks of roaming (St. Ignacio, Tikal and Caye Caulker). We DID take malaria prophylaxis (Chloroquine). MAJOR fluke that he got sick but scary all the same. Very few travellers take malaria prevention when they go to Belize. We tried to be safe and what do you know! Anyway, keep in mind that Malaria IS a risk, take the necessary precautions (ie: long shirts and pants, mosquito nets...) and be aware of the signs and symptoms of Malaria. And please...don't get me wrong...WE LOVED BELIZE AND WILL GO AGAIN!! My husband is happy and healthy and ready to travel again this year.

Re: Malaria #15435
11/18/02 11:42 AM
11/18/02 11:42 AM
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 2,364
glad to hear hubby is back in good health. i always make sure that deep woods off is first on my packing list. second item is skittles. laugh pack your deet everyone.

Re: Malaria #15436
11/18/02 03:39 PM
11/18/02 03:39 PM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 2,133
San Jose, CA USA
Gela Offline
Gela  Offline
Wow, Swimmergirl, I wish your husband well. My Dad contracted malaria in Manilla during WWII and had reoccuring bouts of it many decades later. But like many things - very manageable.

When I went to Africa, I was specifically told which drug to take - only certain drugs work in certain countries. It's scarey that you took the preventative drug and still got the disease. I may be rethinking where I go in May for my next trip to Belize next year.

Gela's AC Motto: "All Roads Used to Lead to BC's - Now They Lead to Hurricane's!"
Re: Malaria #15437
11/18/02 05:35 PM
11/18/02 05:35 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 162
Michigan, USA
MamaLiz Offline
MamaLiz  Offline
Gela: it sounds like swimmergirl's trip put her and her husband at far more risk than most travellers. Lan Sluder just posted something last week about the risk of Maleria in Belize and I believe he mentioned border areas. I don't know where the kayak trip was, but camping for a week was far riskier than the "Ambergris Caye with daytrips to the mainland" that most visitors experience. I consider myself to be a very protective Mama and I can't wait share Belize with my girls.
swimmergirl: Thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm so sorry that your husband had to suffer, but I hope that others take your warning to heart. I think that if you are going to stay in the jungle, even for a day or two, it makes sense to take prophylactics and get your shots. How much trouble is it really, compared to the dibilitating effects of illness?

Re: Malaria #15438
11/18/02 07:41 PM
11/18/02 07:41 PM
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 278
Willard, Mo.,USA
Mel S Offline
Mel S  Offline
i hope your husband gets back up fast. The peten distr. of guatemala is well known having malaria problems. we have been to Tikal and flores several times, and there plenty mosquitos, that's for sure. My gut instincts say he problably got infected in the Peten. Best-wishes, mel S....

Mel Sinderman
Re: Malaria #15439
11/19/02 09:36 AM
11/19/02 09:36 AM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 162
Michigan, USA
MamaLiz Offline
MamaLiz  Offline
According to the CDC, CDC - Malaria in Central America
"Malaria can often be prevented by using antimalarial drugs and by using protection measures to prevent mosquito bites. However, in spite of all protective measures, travelers may still develop malaria."
swimmergirl spent 3 weeks on the mainland, 1 of them camping; that is a very different vacation than (I'm guessing) 90% of the visitors to Belize experience. If you were planning to spend 3 weeks in any jungle, you would be exposing yourself to a far greater risk than those that spend a few days in hotels with screened windows/mosquito netting/mosquito coils, etc. If you are going to cancel your trip to Belize because of malaria, don't plan on going anywhere else in Central America or South America or Africa or Asia or Maryland or Virginia either.

Re: Malaria #15440
11/20/02 11:34 AM
11/20/02 11:34 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 38
kmgentry Offline
kmgentry  Offline
I say this was just very bad luck for Swimmergirl's husband. I've been to Belize many times, staying for 2 weeks to 8 months, primarily in Cayo District, often in villages. After my first couple of trips, I never took the anti-malarial meds, and I've never had malaria. Although scary in the US because it is rare, most cases of malaria are highly treatable. It's basically like having the flu really, really bad. If you are concerned, take the meds, but it shouldn't discourage anyone from traveling anywhere in Belize. And as this instance shows, taking the meds doesn't mean you are 100% protected.

Re: Malaria #15441
11/23/02 10:27 AM
11/23/02 10:27 AM
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 7
swimmergirl Offline OP
swimmergirl  Offline OP
Just want to stress the fact that we absolutely LOVED our trip to Belize and that no one should be discouraged from going there because of our story. The only reason I shared this info is so that people don't underestimate the malaria risk in Belize. BUT, as one person wrote above, our trip was not the usual resort trip with the occasional day trip to the Cayo district. We were camping on uninhabited ilslands plus we did a jungle hike/caving trip and last but not least...a trip to Tikal. As the specialist told us...we were basically in Malaria heaven!! I believe that it was more likely that he got "stung" in Guatemala. And, we didn't SEE mosquitos very often so we didn't take the extra care that we should have with respect to long pants... And lastly, Malaria is totally treatable. Once my husband was diagnosed, he was treated properly and back to work in a couple of weeks. We will be travelling again this year...probably to Costa Rica and we don't plan on staying in resorts....camping and local hotels for us!!! Enjoy your trips to Belize!!

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