Had George Clooney, the actor, come to TravelCare to see Pat Plosky, before his trip to the Sudan he would have avoided acquiring malaria. In fact, the patients who come to TravelCare for advice before embarking on their destinations outside of the United States are offered comprehensive advice, vaccinations and medications as a preventative measure against infections such as malaria or travelers’ diarrhea, otherwise known as “turista.”
Malaria is a disease produced by organisms belonging to the genus plasmodium. It is present in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and the Americas. The disease is produced by the multiplication of malaria parasites inside the red blood cells, causing the typical symptoms of fever, headache and in more severe cases progressing to coma and death. Malaria is transmitted by female mosquitoes of the genus anopheles, and much of the prevention is aimed to the elimination and avoidance of mosquito bites.
Each year, there are more than 225 million cases of malaria killing around 781,000 people according to the World Health Organization. The majority of these deaths are of young children in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is commonly associated with poverty and can be a major obstacle for economic development in certain parts of the world.
Methods used to prevent malaria or to protect individuals in areas where malaria is endemic, include prophylactic drugs, mosquito, eradication, and the prevention of mosquito bites, using DEET insect repellent and mosquito nets. Many drugs, most of which are used for the treatment of malaria, can be taken as a prevention as well. They include mefloquine, doxycycline, and the combination of atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride (malarone). The choice of drugs depends on which drugs the parasites in the area are resistant to as well as side effects and other considerations. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is actively contributing to vaccine research and to find a cure for malaria.
Our TravelCare clinic has given advice to travelers to malaria endemic and epidemic areas with a great deal of success, in which over the years we have not had any cases of the disease in returning travelers.
Dr. Vilma DrelichmanNewland Medical Associates 22301 Foster Winter Drive, Suite 200 Southfield MI 48075 Office: (248) 663-2020