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I visited Cozumel in October. Today the Red Cross called to ask me to donate blood. Was told I have to wait a year because Cozumel is considered a malaria zone. I did get quite a few mosquito bites. Are there actually cases of malaria that have been diagnosed on the island. Is it a good idea to take prophylactics?

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1. Re: Malaria?

I would say Dengue Fever is more a problem there.

Saint James City...
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for San Pedro
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2. Re: Malaria?

The CDC says the risk of malaria in the Yucatan is confined to small areas along the Guatemalan border. They're very conservative, and they don't recommend anti-malarials for the area.


Blood donation seems to be another issue. The rules seem to change often.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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3. Re: Malaria?

No need to worry about malaria, none in Cozumel. As froglegs says, dengue can be a problem. I know, I had it. But nothing to do to prevent it other than avoid mosquito bites.

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel
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4. Re: Malaria?

The American Red Cross has a 12 month waiting period before donors may give if they visit Cozumel due to risk of having contracted malaria. This is because the US Centers for Disease Control classifies our state of Quintana Roo as "rare for" vs. no malaria.

While local chapters in the US society usually enforce this, treatment is not consistent throughout all chapters. And while it may be inconvenient for donors and malaria is not a problem here, it makes sense:

Donated blood is not tested for malaria. And the American Red Cross, which requires a standard for decision-making, uses CDC data for this.

Other Red Cross societies have other standards. So this does not apply to all visitors to Cozumel.

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5. Re: Malaria?

I don't know if the rules have changed since the huge numbers of dengue cases in recent years, but there used to be no quarantine period for blood donations if people had been to Cozumel only vs traveled, vacationed on the mainland. Maybe Deb knows and can comment.

Malaria? It is endemic to the region, but I have never seen a case reported in the area, much less on the island.There is increasing migration of people from other countries to the area that could serve as carriers.

6. Re: Malaria?

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