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Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

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Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

Reading a recent post for St Lucia it would seem that area is low risk however my wife and I will also be in the Pongola area for 4 nights and is it low risk too or not ??? Surgery Nurse said essential to take malarials as per UK given guidelines but she also said we needed yellow fever which is rubbish the same as she told a neighbour he needed malarials for Cape Town as many mentioned we are told. GP said decision is up to us as wife can only take Malerone and they are pricy. He said he personally BELIEVES area is very low risk from info from a recent course and I also took him copy of the recent map refered to in other post and we both thought as per that map it would seem Pongola area is on the cusp so in areas around rivers etc I suppose it could be risky however like the original poster I would like to bow to local opinion.

Must add my GP said that he believes that a lot of the time the locals of an area know far more than the brief overviews available to UK GP surgeries and most travel clinics are out to make as much money as possible so they tell you you need the kitchen sink innocolated as well. However he is playing safe and staying on the wall for a straight yes or no!

So if anyone would be so kind as to post their views on that area it would be appreciated.

Edited: 07 July 2010, 18:13
Tempe, Arizona
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for South Africa, Sabi Sand Game Reserve
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1. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

Here's what the SA Government health department says - doh.gov.za/docs/…prevention.pdf - work your way down to the map on Page 40. Pongola isn't shown on the map so you will have to see where it is in relation to some of the towns that are shown.

Stanley, Falkland...
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2. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

At the end of the day, it's not about what your nurse or the locals say - it's whether you want to take a risk with your health or not.

It's like taking out insurance: you probably won't need it - but do you feel lucky?

Pickering, United...
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3. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

On our last trip we went up past Jozini/Pongola and onto Ndumo and Kosi Bay in late August. Our nephew does a lot of work out in the field. With him we were talking to a variety of folks in the area and none of them thought it necessary to take anti-malarials as there had been no recent cases. This was reassuring as we had decided not to take meds as the SA Dept of Health suggested that anti-malarial drugs were not needed in this instance.

Before anyone starts jumping up and down, I'm only passing on what we did. I believe it to be an informed decision based on the available info and right for us.

However, this post reinforces the point that I made last week about poor advice being given in the UK. I appreciate that the doc is "playing safe" but appears to be talking sense!

Cape Town
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4. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

Apart from the cost, insurance is not normally negative. However, in this case, you also need to consider the negative health risks of taking anti-malarials in areas where they are of no benefit. As the document that bwanadave links to points out - if you read it all - there is a measurable risk to your health from taking anti-malarials. If they are not recommended by the SA Dept of Health for the region and time of year you are travelling why take the risk with your health by taking drugs that are not required. It is not a question of "feeling lucky", it is statistically better for your health NOT to take the drugs!

There is a later version of the docoment Dave linked to - doh.gov.za/docs/…prevention_malaria09.pdf The map is on page 30. This clearly shows that both St Lucia and Pongola are classified as "Low Risk Areas - Antimalarial drugs are not recommended".

It is also worth pointing out that Malarial Mosquitos are only able to travel a maximum of one kilometre during their infective life period so these map boundaries are sharp. To be infective the mosquito needs to have bitten a person with malaria in the previous 24 hours, so cases of malaria contracted within National Parks and Private Reserves - even in higher risk areas like Kruger - are incredibly rare. Any risk comes if you stay in rural areas with high village populations - not tourist centres.

However I don't like being bitten by even non-infected mosquitos so I would always recommend (as do the DOH) using personal and room sprays. In these areas I would definitely not recommend taking prophylaxsis.

I also have to say that your other points about the misinformation given by many health service operations, particularly in the UK and the USA, is sadly only too true. It seems that your GP is a exception, in that he looks at local South Afruican information and provides advice based on that.

Edited: 07 July 2010, 23:29
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5. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

We travelled to Phinda in Hluhluwe area in Sept with our daughter last year and did not even consider anti malarials, we also in June this year travelled to Mozambique Ponto Do Ouro with a party of 12, including children and none of us took anti malarials. It is a personal choice, but September you should be fine not to take, just be vigilant in spraying yourself with mozzie spray or cream.


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6. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

Thank you for all that information it kind of followed on with helpful advice when travelling to Kenya a few years back when we made the choice not to have a yellow fever jab despite all UK sources saying it was essential. However, I must admit we took anti-malarials for that trip and on this trip no ill effects but other times its been different.

Nothing prepares you for every eventuality however hence returning from Kenya that time with something you could not vacinate for a really horrid stomach parasite (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giardia_lamblia) and we are fastidious with handwashing.


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7. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

In October 1999, a 5 year tri-national malaria programme was launched to reduce the incident of infections covering the entire Elephant Coast region from St Lucia in the south to Kosi Bay on the Mozambique boarder.The success of the programme has resulted in St Lucia being classified as a low risk area. As a resident of St Lucia, I never take any form of malaria tablet -winter or summer.

annas stlucia

8. Re: Do we need Malaria Tablets for Pongola/St Lucia end Sept??

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