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Information on Malaria Risk for your Program – Guatemala 6

Hello upcoming 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, especially with regards to 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 before purchasing malaria medication. 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

From the CDC website for Guatemala: 

Areas with malaria: Rural areas only at altitudes <1,500 m (4,921 ft). None in Antigua, Guatemala City, or Lake Atitlán.

THE ITINERARY

The Guatemala 6 week course this summer will spend approximately 3 weeks, from July 2nd to the 23rd,  at altitudes below 1,500 meters. We have not experienced a high incidence of malaria in the areas we visit in the region (outlined in the team’s Tentative Itinerary Yak post), but we do recommend you speak with a travel doctor to come up with an appropriate plan.

The remainder of the itinerary will be spent at altitudes above 1,500 meters in the Lake Atitlán region, which according to the CDC is not a malaria risk area.

PLAN

While we cannot give specific medical advice, note that the CDC does say that Guatemala City, Antigua, and Lake Atitlán are at altitudes above malaria risk areas.  For travel to the lowlands students who wish to take anti-malaria medication can begin their medications accordingly, and make a plan to complete their prescription upon return to the highlands.

Our total time in malaria risk zones, according to the CDC, will be no more than 3 weeks.

Please talk to your travel doctor about this, bringing a print-up of this yak as well as the Guatemala 6 Tentative Itinerary for the summer and see what they recommend. We will work with whatever recommendations your doctor makes.

We hope this helps, and please send us an e-mail or give us a call if you have any questions. We hope all your other preparation is going well!

Best,

Julianne Chandler and the Dragons Administration