Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Malaria 101

Let's talk about malaria. In case you haven't heard Liberia has a serious malaria problem. Equip Liberia has done much to combat the disease, but it is still a serious consideration when traveling there from the Western world. We spent a lot of time learning about malaria and diagnosing case studies. Our conclusion is that if at all possible we would like to avoid having the nasty sickness.

A little malaria information...

1) Malaria is carried by mosquitoes. Specifically the anopheles mosquito- and only the anopheles mosquito.

2) Anopheles mosquitoes are dawn, dusk and night biters so we will have to take particular caution at those times of day.
3) There are several different types of malaria. Falciparum is the most dangerous type and yes, it is the primary type in Liberia.
4) There are a handful of drugs that can be used as malaria prophylaxis (big word for prevention), mefloquine, chloroquine, doxycycline, and malerone are the primary drugs.

What does that all mean for keeping the Hoovers healthy?

We'll be wearing long sleeves and pants if we are out when the anopheles is lurking about. We will also sleep under a permethrin treated net- nothing like romance under a mosquito net. We'll probably hang some mosquito coils around our home as an added precaution. Our prophylaxis of choice will be doxycycline. We chose doxy for a few reasons. Mefloquine can make you crazy- I (Jessica) don't need no more crazy. Chloroquine is not effective in some areas. Guess what? Liberia is one of those areas. Malerone will break the bank at $3-$4 per person per day.

Pray that we would be protected from disease- specifically malaria. Also, pray that the doxycycline wouldn't cause any unwanted side effects. I'm very sensitive- but you already knew that!

Now you know more than anyone not traveling to the third world really needs to know about malaria. Trust me I could say more, but I will save you the gory details.

~Dr. Hoover

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~Kyle and Jessica Hoover

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