Risky Trips: Rainforest adventures and safari expeditions. Africa gets a lot of attention for malaria, and rightly so, since counties like Kenya, South Africa and Tanzania are home to a malaria-infected mosquito population. But popular vacation destinations like Costa Rica, Dominican Republic and Mexico (especially in the states of Nayarit, Oaxaca, and Sinaloa) carry a risk as well.
Vital Signs: Malaria is transmitted by mosquitos infected with parasites, which then enter your bloodstream and attack your red blood cells. So if you know you’re visiting a high-risk destination, see your doctor to get started on the appropriate antimalarial drug (each of four strains has it’s own medication) at least four to six weeks before your departure. If infected, the parasites will multiply rapidly, although it could take a full year before you notice symptoms, like fever and chills. Always just assume the mosquito did you in and see a doctor right away, just in case. Brushing it off is a no-no, unless you don’t care that these parasites can creep up into your brain...and cause stroke or kidney failure.
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