Firstly we need to point out that since we are tour operators not qualified doctors it’s inappropriate for us to provide specific medical advice on malaria or any other medical condition so all we can do is try to make a few general points here!
One of the most FAQ’s by customers considering or booking an All Points East tour concerns malaria! Is it a risk, how to avoid it and what precautions are necessary or advisable? Well, for starters, we can not emphasize enough the need to consult a SPECIALIST on the matter – ideally, someone who has more extensive knowledge of the subject than asking which country or countries you are visiting then looking it up in their disease directory. The average GP in Middlesboro or Malmo can’t be expected to be an expert on Southeast Asian geography, malaria risk zones or the finer details of destinations on an All Points East tour programme, but at least a specialist in Asia, travel health, or tropical diseases would be aware that countries like Vietnam or Thailand are relatively large with highly varied geographical and climatic zones and consequently high and low-risk malaria zones. Zones can be highly localized and a map of malarial risk areas across Southeast Asia would be a totally confusing patchwork of tiny, medium and large blobs! (These sites have plenty of detailed info: Centre for Disease Control and WHO)
So why bother though, why worry about going into the details – why not just cover all the possibilities and get some antimalarials, (prophylactics), anyway?
Well apart from the unnecessary expense just check out the list of possible side effects!? These are heavy-duty drugs and probably best not taken unless expert medical advice deems it absolutely necessary. However, more importantly, and with wider implications, the indiscriminate and unnecessary prescription and, (sometimes incorrect), consumption of anti-malarial drugs is thought to contribute towards increased resistance by malarial parasites. ‘I’ve taken my first dose of antimalarials but it didn’t agree with me so I’m not talking anymore’, could mean a nice little minor dose for malaria parasites to get to grips with before they encounter a more important dose.
Anyway, we’re not qualified to go into further details but do go into further details on the excellent sites above!