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October 2005 Vol. 20, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Donít Forget Thereís Malaria Out There

from the October, 2005 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

If you are traveling to any tropical or subtropical country, you should check on the status of malaria. Parts of Mexico and Central America, South America, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, the Middle East, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands are presently reporting pockets of malaria risk.

Don't Forget There's Malaria Out ThereIn a recent Travelers' Health warning from the Centers for Disease Control, we found continuing cautions of risk in rural areas and in Roatan and other Bay Islands. Travelers should be on a chloroquine regimen. The caution is consistent with an article in the April 2005 Bay Islands Voice indicating that the disease is on the rise. In children under 5, there were 115 recorded cases at Roatan Hospital last year. According to Dr. Duarte of the Galindo Clinic in Roatan, "We saw a wave of malaria in January--up to two patients every day." Last year, neighboring Guanaja recorded the highest adult malaria rate in the region with 37 cases per 1,000 inhabitants; this was followed by Roatan. In April, a Canadian tourist on Roatan contracted malaria.

What does this mean for the traveler to the Bay Islands? At this point, there clearly is malaria on Roatan, although there is no evidence that it is of epidemic proportion. Chances of exposure increase dramatically if one travels on mainland Honduras, or even changes planes there. So a diver would be wise to follow current CDC recommendations regarding antimalarial medications and take all routine steps to avoid exposure to mosquitoes.

For CDC guidelines on preventing malaria in your venue of travel, go the CDC Travelers' Health Web site: http://www.cdc.gov/travel.

To check for last-minute info on malaria outbreaks, go the CDC Travel Notices Web site: www.cdc.gov/travel/outbreaks.htm.

- Doc Vikingo

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