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Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Georgetown, Penang
Level Contributor
2,564 posts
1 review
Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Planning a trip up to Chang Mai before the end of the year. We will be traveling from Malaysia. Will we need to use anti-malaria in the north of Thailand.

Thank you for any advice. Don't have a doctor here I can visit and I expect you guys on TA would know just as much anyway.

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
163 posts
1. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Robelyn!

Hi sorry been away from the internet for a while. busy with work work work!. then remembered that you were going to post a question or two here. and so here i am.

no u would not need an anti-malaria shot. never heard of any cases lately. dengue perhaps but even that not too common. !

when you planning your trip herE??

Georgetown, Penang
Level Contributor
2,564 posts
1 review
2. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Hi musicarvind,

Good to see your back on the forums. We are planning to come up to Chang Mai in october, is this a good time weatherwise ? We need to arrive before the end of the year as we will fly back to Europe at the end of december.

We are going to stay at the Chedi, do you know this place. Any advice would be most welcome. We have heard its good. Is it near the town or will we be stuck out in the middle of nowhere ?

No malaria tablets, I'm pleased to hear that, they always give me tummy upsets.

Lyn

New York City, New...
Level Contributor
163 posts
3. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Hi Robelyn, YEs its a brand new hotel with high ratings. Its part of the city area. Next to the Ping river. Very close to the night bazaar area and a small walk to Tapae Gate (the old city) area. Weatherwise October should be cool during the evenings to night. If you could stay in Chiang Mai around 5th November (loy krathong), that would be fabulous. Its the float festival and lots of people come up to chiang mai to party. I always enjoy loy krathong. More than songkran.

Robelyn you could also write to me at arvgroo@gmail.com in case you need to know anything. take care and happy planning your trip.

arvind..

Oakland, CA
13 posts
4. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

We just got back from a month in northern Thailand, and our doctor here prescribed malaria pills for the duration. She said the risk of malaria in Chiang Mai was "high," so we took the pills.

Chiang Mai
Level Contributor
777 posts
11 reviews
5. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

The WHO says there is no need for anti malarial treatment in Chiang Mai (as for all of Thailand except for a few remote areas close to the burmese, laotian and cambodian borders).

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Mae Hong Son
Level Contributor
1,141 posts
37 reviews
6. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

To further that, the Thai Red Cross recommends against anti-malarials in any part of Thailand. Here is a cut and paste from a posting I did in the Mae Hong Son forum:

Of course it's safe to go without anti-malarial tablets. For a start, the Thai Red Cross advises against taking them at all. They reason that anti-malarials can help create pools of resistant strains (thus rendering previously effective therapeutic drugs useless). They can also allow a patient to develop a sub-symptomatic infection that is not treated immediately, which is the most effective timing for treatment. Also, many anti-malarials are toxic and have signifcant side effects.

The Thai Red Cross and most other local physicians recommend taking sensible precautions to prevent being bitten, such as using repellents. There is really no reason to become hysterically afraid or worried about contracting malaria if you take reasonable precautions against being bitten. I have lived as an expat in Thailand for nine years now and I have never heard of anyone travelling as a tourist who has ever contracted malaria upcountry in the north. I have a close friend who is a Thai surgeon with an interest in tropical medicine who has only been able to discover a very few cases of "tourist malaria" over the past decade, although some cases may have been reported once a traveller got back home and the information was not transmitted back to the Thai Ministry of Public Health.

The point here is that malaria should be put into perspective.Yes, some locals do contract malaria in Mae Hong Son, but it's nowhere near an epidemic and they do not live like you would on holiday. Insofar as perspective, I would be willing to bet that your drive in to the airport from home has a greater probability of negatively affecting your health than your chances of contracting malaria on a holiday in Mae Hong Son [or Chiang Mai] province.

London
Level Contributor
31 posts
1 review
7. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Hi Robelyn

We visited our local GP (UK) and she advised anti malaria tablets for just the Chiang Mai part of our trip (other areas we go are Singapore, KL, Penang and Bangkok). We're going to be there )ct 06 so this was a couple of weeks ago.

Because we're in Chiang Mai for 4 days only she prescribed Malarone (least amount you need to take for the before and after doses - 2 days before, 7 after). If we were staying longer she said it would have been a different kind (sorry - I don't know which one). Looking at the advice so far it seems mixed - looks like you need to base it on what you are going to be doing (i.e. any treks / jungle trips) and how good you are at avoiding getting bitten, and how much of a risk you want to take. Think the UK docs err on the side of caution (and so do I - no matter how much Deet etc I use, I always get bitten). The Malarone tablets are pretty expensive - £2.50 a tablet, but I think you might be able to get them cheaper. I took them last year and didn't have any side effects, but my husband got seasick which he has never done before and this is apparently a possible side effect.

Hope this helps you to decide

Chiang Mai, Thailand
Destination Expert
for Mae Hong Son
Level Contributor
1,141 posts
37 reviews
8. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

With all due respect to your physician in the UK, most residents and physicians alike in Thailand would offer that it would be absolutely silly to prescribe anti-malarial prophylaxis for a four day holiday in Chiang Mai city. Both the Thai Red Cross and the Thai Ministry of Public Health do not recommend anti-malarial drugs at all in Thailand. In fact, Malarone is not even approved for anti-malarial prophylaxis by the Thai FDA, and it is not available in Thailand for that reason.

Even forgoing the many very strong reasons for not taking anti-malarial drugs, the chances of acquiring malaria during a brief holiday in Chiang Mai city are about as close to nil as being struck by lightning. Again, no disrespect to your UK-based physician, but with 100% certainty, if you asked any physician in Thailand who is experienced with local medicine and epidemiology, I doubt you would find a single one who would prescribe anti-malarials for a four day visit to Chiang Mai.

Yes, Malarone is expensive, and GlaxoSmithKline have already made a tidy profit by promoting and selling it at a high price. But even the malarone.com site states "There is no risk in cities and the main tourist resorts (e.g. Bangkok, Chiangmai, Pattaya, Phuket, Samui)", so one has to wonder why any physician would prescribe Malarone for a short visit to Chiang Mai . Malarone is a chemical and it does have side effects. It can allow for development of sub-symptomatic cases of malaria infection (althought probably not in Chiang Mai city). It is also a very useful drug for treatment of real cases of malaria, but its indiscriminate and unnecessary use as a prophylaxis helps lead to resistant strains of malaria, and that is one reason why it is not allowed and cannot be prescribed as an anti-malarial prophylaxis in Thailand. While your physician may was to prescribe it, you might still want to consider whether you want to take it.

London
Level Contributor
3 posts
2 reviews
9. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Thanks for the information! Could you tell me which area's in Northern Thailand that I will need Malaria Meds? As every website and pharmacy here is trying to give me Malerone for the duration of my trip which I think is a little excessive and very expensive (lucrative for them).

London
Level Contributor
3 posts
2 reviews
10. Re: Will I need anti-malaria tablets

Thanks for the information! Could you tell me which area's in Northern Thailand that I will need Malaria Meds? As every website and pharmacy here is trying to give me Malerone for the duration of my trip which I think is a little excessive and very expensive (lucrative for them).