Myanmar Formerly Burma Asia
Malaria Risk and Travel Vaccine Information for Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar (formerly Burma) Overview
Travel and tourism around Myanmar is becoming more and more accessible since the freely contested 2015 government elections, the first since 1990. Travel to Myanmar is still problematic but rewarding for those willing to make the journey, with highlights like; the cities of Yangon and Mandalay, religious sites like Pindaya, beautiful scenery like Lake Inle, the ancient city of Bagan and serene white sand beaches of Ngapale.
The following sections contain information on the risk of malaria, what vaccines are recommended and other important health issues you may face with travel to Myanmar.
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Myanmar (Burma) - Malaria Risk
What is the risk of malaria in Myanmar (Burma)?
It is the opinion of Travelpharm that customers to Myanmar are at moderate risk of contracting malaria and therefore they should observe strict bite avoidance measures and use anti malaria medicines in higher risk areas. The risk for UK travellers is considered to be Moderate and it is the opinion of Travelpharm that travellers visiting the following areas take anti-malaria medicines:
Areas below 1000m, including Bagan
In other regions of Myanmar anti malaria medicine is not usually advised but could be considered in the following groups of patients who suffer the following conditions:
long term medical conditions
and also long term travellers or those visiting rural remote locations. CDC states that risk to US travellers is moderate and transmission is known to occur in all areas of the country below 1000m.
Fitfortravel have an excellent map highlighting nalaria risk areas in Myanmar.
The 2017 World Health Organisation report in to Malaria transmission in Myanmar (Burma) showed that 8.4m people live din high risk transmission zones. This led to an estimated 116,000 cases of malaria with deaths estimated to be approximately 200. Myanmar nationals have had access to malaria treatments free of charge since 2003 and nets have been distributed free of charge since 2003. Ongoing studies have shown a decline in the number of laboratory confirmed cases since 2005 with a similar decline seen for hospital admissions and deaths also.
What malaria tablets should I take?
The following antimalarial tablets are suitable when travelling to Myanmar:
› Atovaquone and Proguanil 250mg/100mg- Generic Alternative to Malarone
› Malarone Tablets
› Malarone Children's Tablets (for Children under 40kg weight)
› Doxycycline Capsules
Unfortunately due to resistance Travelpharm do not recommend Mefloquine (Lariam) in this region.
Vaccinations for Myanmar (Burma)
Below is a table designed to show you what vaccines are mandatory, recommended or ones to consider when visiting Myanmar:
Tick Borne Encephalitis
Yellow Fever Vaccine
A certificate is needed if arriving from transmission risk country.
Man = Mandatory
Con = Consider
Rec = Recommended
Req = Required if visiting from area with risk of transmission
Areas of High Altitude in Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar has areas of high altitude. High altitude is defined as being over 2500m. Some notable examples in Myanmar include:
Hkakabo Razi (5881m)
Other high altitude areas are typically found in the east and north of mainland Myanmar due to the wider Himalayan mountain range.
Travel to high altitude can cause several conditions which include Acute Mountain Sickness (Altitude Sickness) and the more severe High Altitude Pulmonary Oedema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Oedema (HACE).
Symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness include headache, fatigue, loss of appetite, nausea and sleep disturbance Improvement will only occur by descending to lower altitudes. Complications can occur for persisting with ascent that can lead to swelling around the brain or fluid collecting in the lungs. Ultimately HAPE and HACE can prove fatal.
Prevention is by slow ascent (no more than 500m per day once over 3000m) and by ensuring travel to high altitude areas from low altitude areas is not done in a single day.
Travel Health Pro have an excellent resource for helping to determine a patients risk based on previous experience and elevation. The information is available here
Patients potentially at risk due to unavoidably rapid ascents, or those with previous experience of Acute Mountain Sickness may benefit from taking Acetazolamide (Diamox). Travelpharm offer a free online consultation service should you wish to purchase this.
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Travellers Diarrhoea in Myanmar (Burma)
Myanmar (Burma) has a high prevalence of reported cases of travellers diarrhoea with an expected risk of suffering illness greater than 20%.
It is important to ensure you observe strict hygiene and to be careful of what food and drink is being consumed. We have a handy guide available in our travel blog and we also stock a large selection of medicines to help ease your symptoms in our stomach and bowel section.
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How to order?
Brands May Vary
100mg (Single Capsules)
Tablets 250/100mg Anti Malaria - Single Tablet
Travellers less than 40kg
Paediatric Tablets 62.5/25mg Anti Malaria - Single Tablet
Brands Many Vary
Atovaquone and Proguanil 250mg/100mg Single Tablet (Malarone generic tablets)
Xifaxanta 200mg x 9 Tablets