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August 2008    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 34, No. 8   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Malaria on Roatan

from the August, 2008 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

There is malaria on the island of Roatan. It’s not rampant and many travelers and even local residents take no prophylaxis, but it exists and those who contract it from a mosquito bite get very sick and may be out of commission for weeks. Over the years, Undercurrent has reported on cases in traveling divers, one perhaps contracted from a mosquito bite while changing planes on the mainland.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends anti-malaria treatment for people visiting mainland Honduras at areas below 3,200 feet in altitude, as well as Roatan and the other Bay Islands. The drug of choice is choloroquine, taken once weekly in a dosage of 500 milligrams. It should be started one to two weeks before arrival, taken throughout the trip and for four weeks after.

The danger and bother of mosquitoes and no-see-ums can be substantially reduced with some easy precautions like wearing long sleeves and pants, especially at dawn and dusk, treating clothes with the insect repellant permethrin, and liberally applying bug spray with DEET or picaridin. (For more bug-off details, read our story “The Skinny on No-See-Ums” in our September 2007 issue, available online at Undercurrent).

- - Doc Vikingo

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