Malaria precautions for Indonesia

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of December 19-25, 1996
Whistler-Blackcomb on a shoestring
Malaria precautions for Indonesia
Local hiking clubs in New Zealand
Romantic skiing trips in Wisconsin
Skiing the Grand Canyon's North Rim

Malaria precautions for Indonesia
Question: Do you think it is necessary to take anti-malaria medication while spending four months in Bali? How about if I'm planning on traveling in other areas of Indonesia?

Jerry Noloboff
St. Augustine, FL
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta operates an international travel directory for information on what to take, and where. According to their current reports, malaria risk in Indonesia is pretty limited to rural areas that are well off the tourist path. Cities and resort areas of Java and Bali fall under the no-risk category, but all areas of Irian Jaya, the western half of the island of New Guinea, are high risk. If you're planning on spending any time off the beaten path--even in transit--I'd strongly recommend taking the anti-malaria medication Mefloquine, which is sold in this country as the prescription drug Lariam. Adult dosage is one tablet a week and should be taken one week prior to arrival in the country, weekly while in the malarious area, and weekly for four weeks afterwards. As always, check in with your doctor for additional dosage information and a rundown of precautions and side effects.

No matter where you are in Indonesia, you'll want to take basic preventative steps such as avoiding mosquitoes. Sleep under a net, slather yourself with insect repellent, and, if possible, avoid high-risk situations: outdoor activities between dusk and dawn, when the blood-sucking pests are out in force. Symptoms of malaria range from fever and flu-like symptoms to chills, achiness, and fatigue. If untreated, malaria can develop into anemia, kidney failure, coma, and death. For more details, call the CDC hot line at 404-332-4565 and follow the instructions for fax-back information. Also, the Travelers Medical Center (212-982-1600), and the International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (716-754-4883) can provide info.

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