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Old 04-03-2015, 09:52   #1
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Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

I am planning a trip this winter to sail through the Bahamas and the Caribbean and was wondering if I need Malaria prevention pills...I did some research and could not really find any of the islands that I'm planning to visit on the CDC website, but my primary doctor recommended bringing pills along anyways - I just wanted to know if anyone has had experience with this, and if so, what (if any) type of malaria- prevention treatment you would recommend.

Islands i'm planning to visit include: BVI's, US - VI's, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caikos, etc. etc. I'm not planning on visiting Cuba or DR

Thank you in advance!
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Old 04-03-2015, 09:55   #2
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Not just Malaria, but Chikungunya as well.

Anchor out, screen up the boat at dusk until after sunrise, don't go ashore after dusk. If you have to be ashore anytime, lather up with deet.

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Old 04-03-2015, 10:17   #3
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Don't forget all the fun strains of Dengue Fever too!! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dengue_fever


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Old 04-03-2015, 10:21   #4
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Malaria is not a problem there and taking the pills would probably do more harm than good (they aren't all that good for you).

There is no medical prophylactic for Chikungunya or Dengue.

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Old 04-03-2015, 10:27   #5
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

The only place I have ever been in the Bahamas with a huge mosquito problem was Great Inagua (which I attributed to all of the salt ponds being operated by Morton's).

You don't get a lot of rain in most of the Bahamas, and the nature of the topography doesn't really lend itself to a lot of standing water, from what I have observed.

But, I grew up in the Mississippi Delta and I'm still waiting to find the place on earth with more mosquitoes than there are there.
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Old 04-03-2015, 10:49   #6
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Eat Fava Beans (they aren't just for Hannibal Lecter):

"Raw broad beans also contain the alkaloids vicine and convicine which can induce hemolytic anemia in patients with the hereditary condition glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency. This potentially fatal condition is called favism after the fava bean.[8][9] Areas of origin of the bean correspond to malarial areas. Some epidemiological and in vitro studies suggest the hemolysis resulting from favism acts as protection from malaria, because certain species of malarial protozoa, such as Plasmodium falciparum, are very sensitive to oxidative damage due to deficiency of the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, which would otherwise protect from oxidative damage via production of glutathione reductase.[10]"
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:10   #7
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Have you looked here?

CDC - Malaria - Travelers - Malaria Information and Prophylaxis, by Country

Bahamas, Puerto Rico, T&C, and Virgin Islands (both, listed under "V") are all shown and show no prophylaxis requirements.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:43   #8
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

I think a bunch of posts missed the point, you aren't asking if you should be actively taking the pills, but if you should carry them.

Your Dr. suggested the exact same thing as my Dr. Its a good idea to carry the pills and some Malaria test kits. If you suspect Malaria, test and then treat as needed.
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Old 04-03-2015, 11:51   #9
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

I would base that decision on whether or not I was traveling to malarial areas, and then on what type of malaria. There isn't just one choice in "malaria pills" and some are effective against some strains, other against other strains, and then there are the side effects, which differ between people.

Personally, I've found it easier/better/cheaper to get pills in country on arrival. If they are a necessity they are usually available, the right kind for the strains present, fresh, and usually cost less. You can usually get them one country "out" from your problem area if you want to be taking in advance of arrival.
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Old 04-03-2015, 13:56   #10
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Another source of information is the International Association of Medical Assistance to Travelers. For a small donation, they will send you "too much" information on mosquito prophylaxis.

FWIW, you should be aware that the mosquitoes that spread chikungunya and dengue are both daytime feeders, unlike most Anopheles, who are dusk to dawn feeders.

Learning the feeding habits of the various species helps you plan what you're going to do to avoid being bitten.

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Old 04-03-2015, 14:10   #11
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

You dont need amti malaria drugs in the Caribbean Islands.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:05   #12
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Would be worth waiting till you get there. Anti malarials are readily available and a lot cheaper than in USA but if not taking them as a prophylactic why have them? Presumably if you get a fever you will see a Dr, get a script and pick it up from the drug store? Only place on that list where you may have problems getting med care is Puerto Rico. Rest of the region (including Cuba) all has excellent services.
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Old 05-03-2015, 09:48   #13
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Re: Malaria Prevention - Bahamas / Caribbean

Having lived in Trinidad for 3 years I can safely say you DO NOT need anti-malarial treatments in the Caribbean.

The main mosquito transmitted disease is Dengue Fever and the main way to avoid this is making sure you stay clear of swampy areas or stagnant water, use bug nets on open hatches/portholes and common sense precautions to avoid insect bites - such as long sleeves and trousers in the evening, DEET based insect repellents and use of insect coils or other insect repellent devices.

Anti-Malarials do have significant side effects including liver damage if taken unnecessarily or for an extended period of time (more than 6 months in most cases) so unless you are in a known Malaria risk area don't think about taking them "just in case" and NEVER take them without consulting a qualified Doctor or Travel Health Nurse or Medical Professional.
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