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Bill_N

Sep 4, 2003, 3:45 AM

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One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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Hola Todas,

As some of you know who read these forums, my wife and I recently returned from a trip to Mexico. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit to Morelia and the Lake Chapala area over an 18 day vacation in Mexico.

However, yesterday I discovered one downside to our travels. I am a regular blood donor at my local Red Cross. I have donated regularly since age 18. I am 56 now. Wow, almost 50 years. Where does time go? I still don't know what I want to be when I grew up. Ha ha...

Anyway, they called me to come in for a donation. At my appointed time, the screener started asking me all of the routine questions. I have them memorized. When she came to "Have you traveled outside the US in the past 6 months?" I hesitated a moment because by habit I almost always answer "No". But then I remembered I traveled in Mexico. When I told her that, it was like an alarm sounding. She immediately whipped out a manual and turned to Mexico. She studied the pages for a few minutes and then she went to get an Atlas. She asked me to point out where I had traveled. I guess Morelia and Chapala were not on her listings. I showed her and she sprang to her feet and excused herself to make a phone call. She went off to call some centralized number. When she returned she had a somber look on her face. She informed me that I could not donate today and that I would be put on a "deferral list" and "not allowed to donate for a year due to risk of Malaria".

Of course I don't have Malaria and in fact if I come down with it, it will be because I spent a week in rural Florida visiting my Mom right after my return from Mexico. While I was in Florida the area I was in had actual live cases of Malaria and were spraying for mosquitoes to control the spread of Malaria. I doubt Florida was on the Red Cross listing however. They certainly don't have a question like, "Have yo spent any time in the last few weeks in West Palm Beach and surrounding areas of Florida?" Interesting.

Well, I guess with the blood supply it is better to be ultra safe than sorry. I know when my wife last spring needed transfusion of 6 pints of blood after a surgery for Spinal Fusion, the safety of that blood was paramount in my mind. I hated for her to have to get someone else's blood was glad it was available to save her life.

Anyway, I thought this would be an interesting piece of information for the readers of these forums and good to know that if you travel in certain areas of Mexico you will not be able to donate blood in the US at least temporarily.

Bill

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N2Futur

Sep 4, 2003, 10:10 AM

Post #2 of 8 (2500 views)

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Re: [Bill_N] One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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Bill, I also donate blood on a regular basis and have encountered the same problem with Red Cross. We vacation in Cozumel every year. Red Cross says I have to wait at least 6 months after travel to Mexico to be able to give blood.

Elke

Elke
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"When choosing between two evils, I always like to pick the one I never tried before." - Mae West


TomG

Sep 4, 2003, 9:18 PM

Post #3 of 8 (2438 views)

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Re: [Bill_N] One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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Is anyone taking Cloroquine to prevent malaria? The CDC shows lots of Mexico on its malaria map.

As I remember it Michoacan is not on the list, but parts of Jalisco are.

There may also be some question as to which is least derogatory to you health: Cloroquine or malaria. As I understand it, the malaria in Mexico is not the life threatening kind found in Africa, and it can be readily cured with Cipro.


ET

Sep 4, 2003, 10:27 PM

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Re: [TomG] One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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Quote
TomG writes:
....There may also be some question as to which is least derogatory to you health: Cloroquine or malaria. As I understand it, the malaria in Mexico is not the life threatening kind found in Africa, and it can be readily cured with Cipro.


There are a number of drugs which can be used to treat (a) the Plasmodium vivax induced malaria found in limited portions of Mexico, and/or (b) the more serious Plasmodium falciparum induced malaria found in other parts of the world. Ciprofloxacin ("Cipro") isn't one of them.

In what ways would Chloroquine be as or more "derogatory" to your health than malaria?


TomG

Sep 5, 2003, 8:11 AM

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Re: [ET] One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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I am not qualified to prescribe.

If I have a faulty idea about a malaria cure it is good I find out since I seem to have an allergic reaction to Chloroquine.

I recently had a rather severe skin outbreak and an increase in tinnitus thought to be a reaction to Choroquine. My uncle who has lived in New Guinea for 30+ years has severe ear trouble and some eye trouble attributed to it. Many of his associates suffer from it effects, and now none use it. The medical advice given them is to instead deal with the mosquitoes or malaria directly.

My intentions is and was with this thread to find out more information on the subject in order to make the best choices I am able in a given situation.

Appointments with Dermatology, Allergy, Ear/Nose&Throat, and Travel Medicine were expensive and inconclusive about how to handle the dilemma. Eventually someone is going to have to be conclusive - that will obviously be me, sliding my chips onto the table. The geographic risk in Mexico is spotty. Apparently, right down to an infected village in an infected region the disease map is spotty house by house.


tonyburton


Sep 5, 2003, 1:13 PM

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Individual mileage may vary, but...

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(speaking only for myself) taking Chloroquine is definitely preferable to any repeat performance of the malaria-induced "shivering under 12 blankets" phenomenon, followed by several days in hospital, that I experienced a few years ago. (Two strains of malaria , simultaneously, and both contracted somewhere in Nayarit or Sinaloa). At least I was lucky - the doctor (being Nicaraguan) took one look at me and diagnosed "malaria". Turned out he'd seen literally hundreds of cases in Nicaragua, but that I was the first case he'd come across in Mexico... Small consolation!


Kip


Sep 5, 2003, 1:32 PM

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Re: [tonyburton] Individual mileage may vary, but...

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I know nothing about malaria but as you probably already know , I love your book!

Kip
kip


ET

Sep 7, 2003, 11:36 AM

Post #8 of 8 (2283 views)

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Re: [TomG] One Downside - Travel in Mexico

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TomG writes:
....I recently had a rather severe skin outbreak and an increase in tinnitus thought to be a reaction to Choroquine....


Chloroquine-related ototoxicity is considered to be rare. It is mostly associated with users who have pre-existing auditory damage, which serves to emphasize why advice regarding medications should be obtained from a health care professional familiar with your health profile and what other medications you're using. Both skin rashes and itching are considered to be not-uncommon side effects of chloroquine, to the point that medical attention is only recommended if the condition persists and/or bothersome.


Quote
TomG writes:
....My uncle who has lived in New Guinea for 30+ years has severe ear trouble and some eye trouble attributed to it. Many of his associates suffer from it effects, and now none use it. The medical advice given them is to instead deal with the mosquitoes or malaria directly.....


When chloroquine is prescribed at dose rates in excess of those typically used for prophylactic treatments, or when prescribed for long term use (calculated using a simple cumulative dose formula), periodic monitoring (typically every 3-6 months, but again dependent on a health care professional's assessment of the individual) is recommended including complete blood counts, a neuromuscular exam, and full ophthalmologic exam. Abnormalities and impacts found at the early stages by such monitoring are expected to be reversible. Additionally I'm not sure why relatives and friends in New Guinea were using chloroquine in the first place. Unlike Mexico, chloroquine-resistant malaria is present, with resistant Plasmodium falciparum being first identified in the mid-70's, and resistant Plasmodium vivax in the late 80's.

The "sliding your chips onto the table" type of drama is unnecessary. If you are going to be spending your time in areas where there's a risk of malaria and your activities and/or lifestyle places you at significant risk of exposure, there are several alternate prophylactic treatments which can be used in cases of chloroquine sensitivity. A health care professional familiar with travel medicine or "tropical" and/or parasitic diseases and their prevention should be familiar with them.
 
 
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