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Q&A


By Ilona Kauremszky


Q: Is there some kind of resource that helps identify malaria-infested places? My son who has decided to take a year off from university wishes to travel to South America and I wish to know what areas might be prone to this?

A: For centuries the allure of exotic locales has inspired many. And your son seems to have become curious about the beauty of South America. As a trip preplanner, itís a good idea that about a month before he departs for his journey, he should visit a travel doctor to find out what precautions he should take.

The Travel Clinic located on Bay Street is one suggestion. For malaria-prone countries there was a study published last March in the science journal Nature that suggests the number of reported cases is as much as 50% higher than World Health Organization (WHO) estimates.

The good news is that many people can travel to malaria-stricken areas without incident. I traipsed through the bushland of South Africa in the heart of safari country but took precautions like wearing neutral toned long sleeves, pants and spraying plenty of DEET while the one who opted to take malaria pills ended up having such side-effects, they missed a few safaris.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a list of some basic preventative measures. For starters, determine if an anti-malaria drug is needed in the area.

For more info on what areas are considered malaria risk zones, visit the CDCís Travelerís Health Web site, www.cdc.gov/travel/. Also, many countries have seasonal periods of lower malaria risk. This is when you experience colder temperatures and lower humidity which makes it harder for mosquitoes to survive.

Just because the country your son intends on visiting has malaria-prone areas, these concerns donít have to change his travel plans. Dr. Richard F. Thompson, director of the Camino Medical Group International Travel Clinic in Sunnyvale California says, ďYou simply have to think ahead. And when in doubt, take your medication and use DEET.Ē

Another good site for mapping malaria zones can be viewed at the WHOís web site. Click on www.who.int/tdr/diseases/malaria/diseaseinfo.htm

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