Malaria in South America


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A number of countries in South America have the risk of malaria. It depends where you are going and what part of the country you are going to as to what malaria tablets will be suitable for your journey. There is no malaria risk in Chile, Uruguay or the Falkland islands. It is important that you follow insect protection measures in any country in South America and take malaria tablets when you have been prescribed them.

If you are visiting Argentina, there is a small risk of malaria in certain areas of the country. If you are planning to visit any of the areas along the border with Bolivia such as the Jujuy and Salta lowlands, you will need to take prophylaxis in order to protect you against malaria. Chloroquine, Mefloquine and Doxycycline are all effective in Argentina. Also, areas of Argentina that border Paraguay have a slight risk but you are not always prescribed malaria tablets as insect protection measures are sufficient.

Bolivia has a number of areas that are at risk of malaria throughout the year and so malaria tablets are a necessity in this country. In areas below 2500m such as Pando, Santa Cruz, Tarija and Lacareja provinces, Beni, Rurenabaque and Yungas in the La Paz area, malaria tablets are prescribed. You may be given Doxycycline, Malarone or Mefloquine in order to prevent malaria. There is also a low risk of malaria in Cocha Bamba and Chuquisaca.

Mefloquine, Malarone and Doxycycline are also prescribed for areas in Brazil that are forested and below 900m. Malaria occurs in the nine states of the legal Amazonia region so if you plan to visit any of part of these provinces, you will need malaria tablets. It is primarily caused by Plasmodium vivax but Plasmodium falciparum is also present. Some of the main areas where malaria is present in Brazil include Amapa, Marahao, Mato Grosso and Rondonia. There is no malaria risk in other areas of the country.

If you are going to visit Columbia, you will need to take malaria tablets if you are visiting rural or forested areas. There is a high risk of malaria throughout the year in areas below 800m such as Amazonia, Pacifico, Uraba-Bajo Cauca and Orinoquia regions. Malarone, Doxycycline or Mefloquine are recommended for these areas because some of them have Chloroquine resistance so taking that form of malaria tablet would not be effective.

If you are below 1500m anywhere in Ecuador, you will need to take malaria tablets. There is a risk of malaria through the year with a higher risk of the disease in El Oro, and Manabi compared to Cotopaxi and Los Rios. You will need to take Mefloquine, Malarone or Doxycycline. There is no risk of malaria in Guayaquil or Quito.

In the 9 municipalities that bored Brazil and Suriname in French Guiana, the risk of malaria is high. Malarone, Mefloquine or Doxycycline must be taken in these areas to protect against the parasites. There is some risk in the other municipalities but your doctor will decide whether prophylaxis is necessary. There isn’t a risk of malaria on the surrounding coastal islands of the country.

Guyana has both Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum so there is a risk of malaria in the country. The cases of malaria reported are usually in the central areas of the country and there is a high risk of the disease throughout the year in any area that does not border the coast. You will be prescribed Malarone, Mefloquine or Doxycycline. There are also rare cases along the coastal regions of Guyana.

Paraguay has three main risk areas where malaria is present. There is a risk of the disease in Parana, Canindeyú and Caaguazú so you will need to take Chloroquine, Mefloquine, Malarone or Doxycycline if you plan to visit these areas. There is no risk of malaria in other parts of the country. Peru on the other hand, has quite a high risk of malaria and there are a number of risk areas. You will need to take Malarone, Mefloquine or Doxycycline if you visit Cerro De Pasco, Jaen, Junín, Piura, San Martin, Tumbe, Cusco, Ayacucho, Huancavelica, Loreto, Ucayali and Luciano Castillo. There are a number of other areas affected so check with your doctor to see if you need to take malaria tablets.

The final two countries of South America that have a malaria risk are Suriname and Venezuela. Both have a high risk throughout the year although within the countries, some regions are more at risk than others. In Suriname, the three southern districts have the highest risk of the disease and in Venezuela; the jungle areas pose the highest threat. The malaria tablets for either country include Doxycycline, Malarone or Mefloquine.


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