Malaria in Cambodia?

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Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby rachelcarolyn » Mon Jun 24, 2013 3:14 pm

Hi guys,

I'm going on a G adventures trip to Vietnam and Cambodia in August. Being nice and organised, I went to the travel nurse a few weeks ago having already checked the fitfortravel website (which UK health professionals use) for advice on immunisations and malaria. This seemed to suggest the route we were taking was low risk and would not require anti-malarials. The nurse confirmed this when I went to see her, as the only places in Cambodia we are going is Phnomh Penh, Siam Reap and Angkor Wat.

My friend who I'm going with lives in a different town, and when she went to her travel clinic she was prescribed antimalarials without questions "because she was going to Cambodia during rainy season". I have since checked with a friend of the family who is a GP nurse, and she also said she doesn't think antimalarials would be necessary, though of course to use plenty of mozzie repellent.

Anyone have any experience or advice about this?

Much appreciated!
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby Janice08 » Tue Jun 25, 2013 7:20 am

Having never been to, or considered going to Cambodia, I can't comment specifically but I have noticed that it is common to get conflicting information about malaria from travel clinics and other "experts." When I was in the Peruvian Amazon, half our group had been prescribed anti-malarials and the others had been told the risk wasn't high enough and just cover up and use insect repellant. One person on my first trip to Guatemala who was staying on to go to language school had been told by the school that she was required to take antimalarials even though there is no risk in Antigua due to the elevation.

I think a lot of it comes down to risk management. Because there is malaria somewhere in the country there is the risk that a stray mosquito may hitchhike to another part of the country and bite you. The person giving the advise doesn't want you to come back and say that you were given faulty advice and it is their fault that you got sick.

In western Canada, where I live, you have the option of "public" travel clinics and "private" clinics in some of the larger cities. A lot of the public clinics are nurse run by nurses that have some training but that is not their full time job. Some of the private clinics are run by doctors, along with nurses, who specialize in travel medicine so have a lot more specific expertise as opposed to general information about the area. I'm not condemming the public clinics. They do a good job for the majority of travellers, but if you are going somewhere a bit more complicated in terms of health, someone with more experience may often be able to give more specific advice. This sounds like what happened in your case as opposed to your friend.

You've done the right thing - do your research first and then go to the clinic. You need to make an informed decision about what is right for you - and that means getting information from more than one source. However, you need to make sure that the sources you look at on-line are reputable. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) is one good resource. Anti-malarials are not without risk. Only you can decide if the risk of malaria for you is more than the risk of a reaction to the anti-malarials.
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby rachelcarolyn » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:42 pm

Thanks Janice.

I agree, it's definitely about weighing up the risks and while I have pretty much decided that on this occasion and with the advice I have been given antimalarials are probably not necessary. However, my friend has since been back to her doctor and mentioned that I had not been prescribed any and the doctor gave the reason of "mosquitoes not following specific borders", which of course is correct but still to me, it seems the risk is so low considering the places we are going and the fact we're only spending 5 days in cambodia. My friend is deciding to go ahead with taking the antimalarials, which I understand but it is making me doubt my decision slightly!

Does anyone have any experience of this region?
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby irishdamsel » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:38 am

I'm going to South East Asia in November and there is no way in hell I would be going without having taken malaria tablets. I will be travelling in total 7 weeks and was prescribed 9 weeks worth of tablets. they cost me £12.50 and if you ask me, a very well worth measily cost. Why risk the chance of ruining a trip for the sake of £12.50. I got the Doxy ones. The Malarone ones cost a mortgage by comparison. I got a very nasty bite in Darwin and it got infected. My leg swoll up and I had to see a GP to the tune of €50.00 and then had to buy the cream on top of that. I was in agony. xx
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby rachelcarolyn » Thu Aug 01, 2013 6:57 pm

Totally agree with you there - if I was going for that length of time I would 100% be taking antimalarials too. That being said, it depends where you are talking about, last year I went to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand and antimalarials were definitely not necessary.

However, I'm only going for 3 weeks this time, none of which is in a high risk area (where antimalarials are advised) according to the uk health advice. Where I am going in Cambodia is the most "risky" but still not of high risk, I am only there for 5 days, so have decided just to go for it without.

Thanks for your input though :)
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby chloe28 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 5:40 am

I have been living in Cambodia for over a year and do not personally know anyone who has had malaria (especially in Phnom Penh/Siem Reap). What is absolutely rampant though is Dengue Fever. No one I know who lives here takes anti-malarial anything, and it's never even talked about as being an issue (obviously though for locals living in jungle outskirts, it may be a different story). Basically, from a year's experience of living here, don't stress about malaria, but cover yourself in mosquito repellent anyway, mainly to avoid dengue.
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby irishdamsel » Mon Aug 12, 2013 8:49 am

chloe28 wrote:I have been living in Cambodia for over a year and do not personally know anyone who has had malaria (especially in Phnom Penh/Siem Reap). What is absolutely rampant though is Dengue Fever. No one I know who lives here takes anti-malarial anything, and it's never even talked about as being an issue (obviously though for locals living in jungle outskirts, it may be a different story). Basically, from a year's experience of living here, don't stress about malaria, but cover yourself in mosquito repellent anyway, mainly to avoid dengue.


Hey Chloe, thanks for this advice. Now I'm panicking about Dengue Fever lol I've just googled it but it would seem there is no vaccination for it. I guess just be sensible and get the deet on.

Thanks again

Diane
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby 92a3818d6162cd53e79fb27a0adfd7 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:02 am

I'm going to cambodia,thailand,vietnam and Laos. My GP also didn't reccoment antimalarias in previous. But he will give me an emercency package of antimalarias just in case.
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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby 98a85ba1c2e183c321c6fec8d4d332 » Wed Jan 01, 2014 9:39 am

How on earth did you get anti maleria for £12.50???? A month worth is around £100!!!!

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Re: Malaria in Cambodia?

Postby midlifecrisis » Wed Jan 15, 2014 5:55 pm

i got the doxy ones too, 2 months worth for about £5, i do know someone who works at a chemists though :)
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