Malaria Risk and Travel Vaccine Information for Philippines
The Philippines is becoming a very popular travel destination and it boasts powder-white beaches, crystal clear seas and stunning coral reefs. It is consist of 7,107 islands. One of the popular places to visit is metropolitan Manila, the Philippines capital city, and many more.
Don't be a statistic, carry on reading as the following sections contain information on the risk of malaria in the Philippines, what vaccines are recommended and other important issues you may face!
Information Reviewed by Andrew Walton MPharm our Superintendent Pharmacist on: 30/4/2021
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Philippines - Malaria Risk
What is the risk of malaria in the Philippines?
The Philippines is split up into three regions, which are Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao and all of these areas are considered low risk. However, in the cities and islands of Boracay, Bohol, Catanduanes, Cebu and Leyte there is no risk of Malaria.
It is of the opinion of TravelPharm to take precautions such as bite avoidance and the use of antimalarial medication is not routinely recommended.
TravelPharm advises that these specific patient groups listed below should consider taking antimalarial medication as well as using bite avoidance measures:
- Immunocompromised and those without a spleen
- Long term medical conditions
- Long term travellers or those visiting rural remote locations
Statistics from the World Health Organisation show that in 2017, 104.9 million people were living in the Philippines of which there were an estimated 15,300 cases of malaria and there were only 34 estimated deaths. However, treatment and preventative measures are advancing and becoming more widely available.
What malaria tablets should I use?
The following antimalarial tablets are suitable when travelling to the Philippines:
› Atovaquone and Proguanil 250mg/100mg- Generic Alternative to Malarone
› Malarone Tablets
› Malarone Children's Tablets (for Children under 40kg weight)
› Doxycycline Capsules
› Lariam Tablets (Mefloquine 250mg)
› Maloff Protect Tablets (Atovaquone/Proguanil)
Vaccinations for Philippines
Below is a table designed to show you what vaccines are mandatory, recommended or ones to consider when visiting the Philippines:
Tick Borne Encephalitis
Yellow Fever Vaccine
A certificate is needed if arriving from a transmission risk country.
Man = Mandatory
Con = Consider
Rec = Recommended
Req = Required if visiting from an area with risk of transmission
Information compiled using FitforTravel and TravelHealthPro
Areas of High Altitude in Philippines
The Philippines has either area with high altitude (2400m or more) or/and areas with very high altitude (3658m or more).
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).
What are the symptoms of AMS?
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 an ascent which is proving troublesome and that can lead to swelling around the brain or fluid collecting in the lungs. Ultimately HAPE and HACE can prove fatal.
How do I prevent AMS?
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 has 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 offers a free online consultation service should you wish to purchase this.
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Travellers Diarrhoea in Philippines
What is the risk of travellers diarrhoea in the Philippines?
There is a high risk of traveller’s diarrhoea in the Philippines and precautions should be taken to reduce the likelihood of developing it wherever possible. Symptoms include stomach cramps which can be mild to moderate, diarrhoea which can be bloody or watery, vomiting and fever. If you are passing blood when you go to the toilet see a doctor immediately.
What can I do to prevent traveller's diarrhoea?
Observing strict hygiene and being careful of the types of food and drink that are being consumed are the only options. 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.
If you are travelling for long periods of time or likely to be away from medical attention then please consider taking a standby course of antibiotics for travellers diarrhoea. Travelpharm stock a product called Xifaxanta which contains the drug Rifamixin. Xifaxanta is recommended for situations where you are producing watery stools with mild to moderate cramping up to about 6 times daily.
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How to order?
Trek Sensitive Insect Repellent Pump Spray 60ml
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)