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Anti-Malaria Treatment

August 5, 2008

Question from Cecile:

I am off to Senegal to visit a friend for two weeks. My doctor in London gave me prescription for Malarone, but my friend who lives in Senegal told me Savarine is better. What do you suggest?

Answer by Alex (Dakar expat):

Hi Cecile – The Malaria treatment debate is recurrent among travelers, especially that no treatment can guarantee that you will not get Malaria. Some people say that Malarone is overmarketed and overpriced, and that it is more adapted for places like South-East Asia than for Senegal. Others say that, on the contrary, Malarone is the latest cutting-edge medicine, and that the other ones are obsolete compared to it. I have seen people catch Malaria with both treatments, and others be fine without any medication.

I just called my local doctor to ask her what she recommends, and she said Malarone, because it has fewer side effects than Savarine. Given that that’s also what your doc in the UK recommended, I would go for that. Just make sure you start your treatment ahead of time as you’re supposed to.

Fyi, unlike what a lot of people think, the type of Malaria that you get in Senegal is not the recurrent one. Over here, you get it following being stung by a Malaria-carrying mosquito (typically ones that do not make noise and appear towards the middle of the night), and then once you are cured it does not come back on its own (i.e. without a mosquito). The most typical symptoms are a 30 min to an hour ‘crisis’, where you start being cold, shivering and have a temperature, and then feel hot.

The best precautions you can take are to wear mosquito repellent, sleep under a mosquito net, close doors and windows at sunset, and not wear shorts or sandals in the evening.

Personally, I don’t take anything anymore because I’ve been living here for 5 years and don’t want to permanently be under medication. I had Malaria on 3 occasions, and every time, I caught it early and was back to normal after 24 or 48 hours.

If for some reason you feel that you might have malaria, or anything else, every general practitioner on the UK embassy list is fine (with a prefence though for Dr. Rahmi +221 33 821 04 09), so just go to where you can get the earliest appointment. If you cannot get one the same day, I recommend going to the Clinique de la Madeleine (+221 33 889 94 70).

Good luck, and let us know how it all went when you get back!

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3 Comments
  1. jower permalink

    mmh… I guess Malarone is best, but the best thing is to stay away from mosquitoes – a fan at night helps them stay away (although it should not replace the net, but rather supplement it) – Enjoy ! Senegal is a great country, and what is best over there is the people

  2. K.C. Jude permalink

    Hi,

    Could someone tell me more about recurrent malaria and the cure.
    I am 31 years old. Since the past 5 years, I do not remember staying upto 3 weeks without a Malaria re-infection even after taking various antimalarials like Quinimax, Quinine, Co-Arinate, Artesunate,Fansider, e.t.c.

    I live in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Your advice will be sincerely appreciated.

    Thanks

  3. dailymix permalink

    Hi K.C.,
    Sorry I did not reply earlier, for some reason WordPress did not send me an email when you posted your comment as they usually do.
    I am sorry but given that recurrent Malaria is not persent in Senegal, I do not know anything about it.
    The best is to go and get professional medical advice if you can. It will be more effective, both in terms of cost and of cure, than simply taking various treatments.
    I certainly hope you feel better. Best of luck, and keep us posted on how you are doing.

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