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Hi, me and my girlfriend are planning to spend our holyday in Brazil. We are very excited about this, but a friend of mine told us something that has disturbed us. He said we would have to take Mefloquine as prevention against malaria. I was wondering if he is right, how Mefloquine will help us. Is the risk of getting malaria really this high that we have to take medicine for it?

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Hi, there are many countries in the world where malaria is a very serious condition taking many lives every minute. Usually, these are tropical and subtropical countries. Brazil is one of them. However, this doesnt mean that you necessarily have to take Mefloquine. It depends on the part of the country you are planning on visiting. Malaria is a disease transmitted through mosquito bites. Since mosquitoes live in swampy areas this would mean you would probably have to take Mefloquine if you are planning on visiting the Amazon. If you have planned this kind of vacation, Mefloquine, or some other kind of antimalarial drug, might be necessary as prevention. These drugs can literally save your life, if you get bitten by a malarial mosquito. However, since antimalarial drugs have many side effects, you shouldnt take them on your own. The best thing you can do is to talk to your doctor about your vacation plans. The doctor will be able to prescribe you with the best antimalarial drug, if necessary. It may be Mefloquine or some other drug, or you may not need any prevention drug at all. But do this as soon as possible, because if Mefloquine is necessary, you should take it few weeks before you enter the risk country.
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