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anti-malarials really necessary?

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Panajachel...
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anti-malarials really necessary?

For a trip of 7 to 10 days floating down from Pucallpa to Iquitos to Leticia in March, is it really essential to take anti-malarials? My inclination is to avoid taking them given the side effects. I have the yellow fever vaccination. It's hard to believe everyone living in the jungle takes anti-malarials and they seem to be surviving.

I've made multiple trips to the jungle areas of southern Peru and never bothered.

I'd appreciate thoughtful, informed replies from those who know what they're talking about. Thanks.

Dublin, Ireland
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1. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

It's definitely worth taking. The side effects and expense of taking the medicine may be inconvenient, but think of the inconvenience of the disease.

The jungle of northern Peru is deeper into the malarial zone than that of the south. I spent a over week there and took Malarone. The side effects were listed as being varied and many but I experienced none whatsoever.

Malaria is a big problem in northern Peru even though you don't see it directly. The sick ones are not on the streets after all. So don't risk it would be my advice.

california
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2. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

I also didn't have any side effects from Malarone. It's more expensive but you don't have to take it for as long a time after you leave the zone.

Perhaps you are thinking of Larium which isn't recommended for Peru.

For that amount of time I would take the drugs.

Michigan
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for Peru
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3. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

"It's hard to believe everyone living in the jungle takes anti-malarials and they seem to be surviving."

Geez, people who have a permanent residency in the jungle do not take the meds because it is not recommended for them. Just for the visitors. The locals usually get infected from time to time and sometimes have the infection dormant in them. So taking the meds "as a preventative measure" would not work at all.

wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/peru.htm

Yorktown, Virginia
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for Machu Picchu
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4. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

While the people in the jungle "seem to be surviving" -- you don't know how many there are infected with malaria. I suspect it's more than a few.......

I certainly wouldn't want to have to deal with having malaria for years after my trip to Peru, just because I didn't want to take the preventative medication.

Houston
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5. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

I have a friend from a jungle area in Africa. When he goes back home from here in Houston, he told me that upon leaving the airport, he stops the taxi at the chemist (pharmacy) FIRST. Before seeing family. Before getting a bite of yummy home flavor. Before doing ANYthing else. It is that important to have his anti-malarial precautions. Other people from other malaria-ridden places tell me the same.

It seems that it would be prudent to be cautious in this. Of course, it is your health and your decision entirely.

Panajachel...
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6. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

Thanks to everyone for your replies - but a hitch is that, from what I read on TA, Malarone is not sold in South America. I'm already in Peru. I suppose I can go to a clinic and see what they have to offer...which could be scarier than malaria.

Michigan
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7. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

That's why it is strongly recommended to leave your home country with the meds and not to wait to be in Peru to get them. They will offer you doxycycline.

There is Malarone in Peru but it's not sold as a preventative; it's only provided for treatment.

Edited: 09 February 2012, 22:28
8. Re: anti-malarials really necessary?

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