ALso, which medication is in use in which area is IMPORTANT and changes from time to time - it is about striving to make sure that malaria parasites don't develop resistance.
PS, it isn't so long since malaria was endemic in the UK - the old "marsh ague" was a form of malaria, and it didn't die out until the Fens were drained. A tiny bit of warming, and it could easily be back!
Last edited by AntarcticPilot; 23-04-12 at 17:48.
Hi, I don't know whether this is relevant or not, but just feel it is important to pass my experience on. I am Roj1 partner, and lived in various african countries many years ago - the last being Tanzania, for nearly four years.But this is now 14 years ago. Before leaving UK I was advised to take, not only a weekly course of Anti Malaria tablets , but also daily ones. Tanzania was the most prolific malaria infested area in those days.
There are many strains of malaria. At its worse it will kill within 24 hours of contracting it. Other strains induce halluciantions, which can lead to suicide. Three friends of mine died within the period I lived in Tanz, because they did not heed the seriousness of the disease. Even though I took all prescibed presciptions, I still contracted Malaria and still suffer from it at intervals. It is most unpleasant to say the least. I bought my drugs from Boots PLC, and was prescibed by my local GP. I was also persauded by my father, who , as a Far East POW spent the rest of his life having dreadful malaria attacks. They were horrendous and extremely unpleasant. So, for whats its worth, those few pence paid to compensate the remainer of your life is peanuts in comparison. I would also recommend the drinking of tonic water, with or without the added gin. quinine has been a life saver. My daughter visited Grambia for a week before christmas last year. Her words to me was that she was very glad she took that extra precaution to take the tablets. The side effects are nothing compared to the effects of the different strains of malaria. I hope that is of help.
I'm currently working in West Africa (Ghana) and as others have pointed out, the official advice is that this is a "Zone C" area and Malarone is the suggested treatment.
However, having weighed up the pros and cons carefully, I have decided not to take any regular palliative treatment at all.
Firstly, there are very few mosquitos where I am on the coast - in six months I have only been bitten once. When I was bitten, and on a couple of other occasions when I noticed mosquitos in the vicinity, I have just taken a couple of Malarones. I have been fine, as have my colleagues who adopt the same strategy.
Malarone is just too expensive to take all year round on a daily basis, and the side-effects are unpleasant. The most noticable symptom is really disturbing dreams, but anecdotally I also think they contribute to the irrational mood swings observed in my colleagues who take them regularly.
It is worth considering also that none of the locals take drugs (and no, they do not have any built-in resistance unless they have the more insidious sickle-cell anaemia). They do occasionally contract malaria but they do not fear it - they get a course of treatment and are over it in two-three days.
Make your own judgement - but if I were in your boots I would just have a few slabs of Malarones on board and use them only for emergency treatment.
Finally - enjoy your sailing around here. The winds are fabulous - there are 10-20 knots of onshore winds every day. There are some safe anchorages too - and interesting shore visits.
I'd miss my compost heap
I work in West Africa on and off and I am required to take Malarone every day as a condition of my employment (Oil and Gas industry). The only issue I have with it is that I get weird dreams as mentioned before but nothing too bad.
Work pays for it so I have no idea what the price is but apparently it's not cheap.
It is apparenty 98% effective in preventing malaria which is more than any other of the drugs mentioned. I wouldn't take Lariam if you paid me - heard terrible things about it from multiple sources.
The prudent see danger and seek refuge.
We left Gambia in March so, going back to the OP.
We got our W African/S American drugs in Las Palmas, they have a foreign travel clinic up by the fire station just outside the main dock entrance. We were interviewed by a Doctor who worked with Seamen and tropical dieseases. Yellow Fever is only €19.00 tax, and most other inoculations are well under €20.00, Cholera was €44.00 per treatment. If you need an injection not supplied by the travel clinic, they will give you a prescription to take to the chemist, and there is a hostpital across the road from the marina who inject you and sign your card, I think about €6.00 per stab! When we were there Larium was €21.00 a box, which you get from the military hostpital. Again you get a prescription for it, pay for it in the bank/post office and go and collect it.
Larium (we were told) is the drug for long term visits and going 'up river', we took 1 a week and the kids 3/4 a week. Nobody had any after effects. To be honest with all the press and stories about bad it is I'd have expected to have metloads of people who react to it, but in nearly 30 years at sea with people taking it regually I've only met 1 and yes he was bad; but I've also met people who have had malaria who wished they had taken it. Your call!
Malaria is a very big problem in Gambia, and loads of people die from it every year. The wet season is the worst time for it, and you will find plenty of info' about it in any school or government office type place. We were anchored in the river and not bothered by mozzies much, but ashore the little buggers were around and biting well!
Drinking rum and playing music with my friends.
Just the info we needed.
We'll deal with things in Las Palmas: I was quoted fifty-five quid each for Yellow Fever jabs in the UK!
I chose the road less travelled, now where the hell am I?
Please don't do that! You risk creating drug resistance. Take a recommended preventive/treatment course or nothing.
You are wrong. THey do have acquired resistance. It is far from complete but repeated exposure gives a significant level of immunity. If you look at a blood smear from a local who has lived with malaria all his life, you will sometimes see levels of parasitaemia that would kill a naive person stone dead.
There are also mechanisms of innate resistance other than the well known sickle cell story. A number of genetic variants confer significant levels of resistance and these are found at a higher frequency in populations heavily selected by malaria.
A European who has never been exposed to malaria is very vulnerable. You should take the risks seriously. It may well be that opting not to take drugs prophylactically, but only to treat is the right action. THat is what I do. But do that in a rational way and if you decide to treat, then treat it properly.
Usisafirie nyota ya mwenzio
>On the other hand, malaria can kill you fast, so you need to understand the risk.
Having spent time in Malaysia I've never known anyone die of Malaria although getting it is unpleasant and it can recur every few years, ex wife (divorced not dead ;-) had it. Dengue fever (a variation of Malaria also born by Mosquitoes) is a different matter. The death rate is very high. Most mossies come out at night so use 3M Ultrathon repellant which the armed forces use and always use a mossie net at night. That's what I did and had no problems.