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Malaria

I am going to Puerto Plata in March, and was wondering about the mosquito problem. Is bug spay enough, or will i have to take malaria pills?

If you do a search on this forum, you will find lots of discussion on this topic. Malaria is not usually found in the Puerta Plata area. However, you should discuss this with your doctor. The Canadian Public Health Agency and the CDC in the US have advisories for the Punta Cana area only. However, I have met travellers from the UK who took the medication for the Puerta Plata area on the recommendation of their doctors. Do your research and talk to your local health professionals.

We have been there the past three years at end March / beginning April and have taken no pills or spray. I am looking at March 10th 2009 and will do the same.

We are going to Punta Cana in Jan. and was wondering how bad the mosquitoes are on the resorts? We are travelling with our two kids and was worried of the risk of malaria. Is it really low risk? Should we be worried? I know th reports say that punta cana is bad for malaria but how many cases are there reported for 2008? What’s the risk? I didn’t know before I booked that malaria was bad in that area. Thanks from a worried parent travelling with young kids.

Our policy on the board is to not dispense medical advice. We recommend that that come from your doctor or medical advisor. Also see our FAQ on malaria with the links to the Canadian (Public Health) and US (CDC) sites. However, we can talk about the risk. It’s low, but it is there. Punta Cana has been known to have the odd malaria outbreak. AFAIK, there are no current warnings issued. We just returned from Punta Cana last week, and saw very few mosquitos. The risk is there, but’s about the same as the risk of winning the big prize in the lottery …

Last year, I contacted Canadian Public Health Agency and our provincial health agency to determine what the level of risk is in Punta Cana. The Canadian Public Health Agency did not reply to my request. When I spoke to a local public health nurse, she told me that Nova Scotia travellers returning from PC had been recently diagnosed with malaria but could not give numbers or any other information. I personally believe that the risk in PC is low. However, I have taken malaria prophylaxis (Malarone) in the past and will seriously consider it again this year. I plan to discuss the risks with my doctor first and then make a decision that works for me. One factor I will put into my decision making this year is that we plan on going off resort to areas that wouldn’t be sprayed for mosquitoes.

I’m not going to talk about the Malaria issue, but I think that you will be sorry if you don’t bring some kind of bug spray. Not just for mosquitos, but also for the sand fleas. Also, a amethystine is a good thing, as the bites can make some people swell up quite bad.

PHAC links have been updated with information on this issue.
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/2008/mal_dr080206-eng.php

There are three levels used

Level 1
Travel Health Advisories

Level 2
Travel Health Warnings

Level 3
Travel Restrictions

Descriptions of these 3 levels can be found here.
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/tmp-pmv/travel_notices-eng.php

As BobfromCanada says: it is recommend that medical advice come from your doctor or medical advisor. ONLY.

Thanks wud. Added link to our FAQ section.
Note that the post is almost a year old (February 2008).

Advise from my doctor was that there is only a low risk of malaria BUT it is much easier to prevent than to cure and it’s not nice to have.

I have only ever claimed once on my travel insurance but I still have it for every trip, just in case. Likewise I always take the one a week tablet to prevent malaria whenever I travel, better safe than sorry.

Another point is I cannot give blood for six months after I visit the DR as it is classed (with the rest of the Caribbean) as being a Malaria risk area.

If in doubt ask you doctor but for the sake of a couple of dollars and remembering to take a tablet once a week for a few weeks I really don’t see why this is such a big worry.

Just my thoughts, ASK YOU DOCTOR if in doubt.

Cheers Amandalou

[quote=@amanda]

Another point is I cannot give blood for six months after I visit the DR as it is classed (with the rest of the Caribbean) as being a Malaria risk area.

Cheers Amandalou [/quote]

Hmmm am wondering if this is a UK thing Amandalou, as I have never been asked or denied giving blood here after my visits to the DR. I give blood 4 times a year and have yet to be asked if I have been to the DR. I was asked one time if I had been to Africa or Indonesian Islands…but never to the DR.

Will definitely ask next time I give blood!

Funny, one of the questions on the Canadian Blood Services donor questionaire (question 6) specifically asks if you’ve travelled outside Canada or US and stayed less than 6 months. And from their malaria policy

Duration in risk zone Policy (effective April 2, 2007)

Less than 6 consecutive months
Eligible to donate blood one year after departure date from malaria-risk zone:
All components of your donation (red cells, platelets and plasma) can be used for transfusion.

6 or more consecutive months
Eligible to donate blood three years after departure date from malaria-risk zone:
All components of your donation (red cells, platelets and plasma) can be used for transfusion.

“I have had malaria”
Not eligible to donate blood.

Not a U.K. thing at all. Many times they will ask if you have been on vacation and to where including the DR. They have I do believe an obligation to the patient who is going to receive this blood to make sure it is disease free even though I’m sure they do a very thorough analysis of the blood. Been asked many a time in fact

This was taken from the Canadian Blood Services website:

Beginning April 2, 2007:

People who spend less than six consecutive months in malaria-risk zone (these represent 87% of malaria deferrals) will be temporarily ineligible to donate blood for one year following the departure from the malaria-risk zone.
People who spend six or more consecutive months in a malaria-risk zone will be temporarily deferred for three years after they leave the malaria-risk zone.
People who have had malaria: will no longer be able to donate blood.

If you check their website, The Dominican Republic fall under what the Canadian Blood Services call a malaria risk zone.

Sorry for the repeat, Bob must have been posting the same time as me.

There in lies the problem there is no cross referencing between all these agencies, where it be CDC, PHAC or Canadian Blood Services.

Who are we to follow, here in Canada it is PHAC and in the USA it is CDC for disease related information.

Where does the [color=Red]Canadian Blood Services come into play, they only determine who can donate blood, not what they should take when traveling, so it is totally irrelevant when it come to traveling.

You cannot even donate blood after the following, cut and pated from their website

"Had dental treatment (extractions, fillings, cleaning, restoration)
For cleaning or filling: until the day after treatment
For extraction, root canal or dental surgery: 72 hours "[/color]

Well I donate at my local hospital, and not at a blood donor clinic…maybe that is why. It is possible they do different blood screenings. I can only comment ‘on my own personal experience’, and any reply I make to a post on here is based on this and this alone.

[quote=@hlywud]
Where does the [color=Red]Canadian Blood Services come into play, they only determine who can donate blood, not what they should take when traveling, so it is totally irrelevant when it come to traveling.[/color][/quote]

I don’t think anyone was suggesting that the Canadian Blood Services has anything to do with what medicine travellers should or shouldn’t take while travelling. But I think it does speak to whether or not there is a risk of contracting malaria in certain travel destinations. The Canadian Blood Services is in the business of getting people to donate blood. If they are putting restrictions in place that would diminish the number of people eligible to donate, there would be evidence to support it IMO.

As far as restrictions being put in place after certain dental procedures, I can tell you as a dental health professional, that it is because bacteria is introduced into the blood stream. This is why some people are required to take antibiotic pre medication before certain procedures.

I was just trying to let others know that there is a risk (even if it is low) of Malaria in the DR and that in MY opinion it is better to take the tablets to prevent Malaria than not too and risk getting a very unpleasant disease. At the end of the day as said before and will no doubt be said again and again ‘Ask your own Doctor’

Cheers Amandalou