Hello upcoming Bolivia travelers!
As you are all likely beginning to visit travel doctors and make a plan for vaccinations and medication, we wanted to take this opportunity to provide some additional information regarding malaria prophylaxis.
Dragons has no specific stipulations or requirements regarding malaria and you should know that it is up to your discretion. We hope the following information from us can supplement info you’ve already received.
As a caveat, and in line with all of our literature, please consult your travel doctor for ALL medical recommendations. We do our best to provide clear information, but also recognize that we at Dragons are not medical professionals and cannot give specific medical advice. This is to be worked out with your doctor, but we encourage you to come to them with questions because it is not uncommon for many doctors to offer blanket-prescriptions while not considering the specific details of their client’s travels.
Also note that many malaria prophylactics have side effects that should be considered and tested before committing to 4 weeks of travel in a foreign country. In addition, it is important to note that medications for malaria do not prevent you from contracting the disease, but they do lessen the associated symptoms.
An important way we can help in your decision with your travel doctor is to give you a very clear breakdown of the regions and altitudes where we will be, which are the two determining factors in coming up with a plan for malaria prophylaxis. We can also provide informative references and, ultimately, we are in full support of whatever regimen your travel doctor has prescribed.
THE CENTER FOR DISEASE CONTROL REFERENCES
The CDC website for Bolivia states the following:
Areas with malaria: All areas <2,500 m (8,202 ft). None in the city of La Paz.
Estimated relative risk of malaria for US travelers: Low.
Drug resistance: Chloroquine.
Malaria species: P. vivax 93%, P. falciparum 7%.
Recommended chemoprophylaxis: Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, mefloquine, or primaquine.
The Bolivia summer course will spend the bulk of the program in highland areas in and around La Paz and Cochabamba at altitudes between 2600 and 5000 meters above sea level. While the summer program will visit Samaipata, in the department of Santa Cruz, and the Yungas region north of La Paz at altitudes between 400 and 1,900 meters, these specific areas are not considered at risk for malaria. The group will not visit the Amazon lowlands. Therefore, malaria is not considered to be a risk in any of the regions in which the summer group will be traveling.
Please talk to your travel doctor about this, bringing a print-up of this post as well as the sample itinerary offered on our website and in our catalog and see what they recommend. We will work with whatever recommendations your doctor makes.
Julianne Chandler and the Dragons Administration