Recommended malaria tablets for India

Recommended malaria tablets for India

Many travellers to most parts of India do not need to take malaria tablets.

However, see map below.

NOTE: Currently in the UK different authorities are giving different advice about which malaria tablets to take for visits to the same areas of India and Goa. In practice travellers can follow either recommendation with some confidence. It is not unusual for there to be differences in advice between one expert group and another. The differences occur where there is no clear cut best choice.

Either set of advice can be followed as there will be arguments for and against both.

NHS Advice (June 2013)

Travellers to the areas coloured dark red in the map are advised to take anti-malaria tablets.  Please read the text below the map for further information.

This map is taken from the NHS for Scotland travel website fitfortravel. The accompanying information from this website (June 2013) is as follows:

Malaria precautions

  • Malaria risk is present throughout the year, in all areas below 2000m. Risk is higher in north-eastern states, in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, Andhra Pradesh, Chhatisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharasthra, Orissa and West Bengal.
    There is low to no risk in parts of the states of Himachel Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Sikkim, and also in the cities of Bangalore, Kolkata, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nasik and Pune.
  • Malaria precautions are essential, avoid mosquito bites by covering up with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers especially after sunset, using insect repellents on exposed skin and, when necessary, sleeping under a mosquito net.
  • Check with your doctor or nurse about suitable antimalarial tablets. atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) OR doxycycline OR mefloquine (Lariam) is the first choice.
  • If you have been travelling in a malarious area and develop a fever seek medical attention promptly. Remember malaria can develop even up to one year after exposure.
  • If travelling to high risk malarious areas, remote from medical facilities, carrying emergency malaria standby treatment may be considered.

UK Health Protection Agency (Alternative recommendations)

In the UK there are currently (June 2013) differences in the recommendations about which tablets to take. The information above is standard in the NHS, however the UK Health Protection Agency recommends chloroquine plus proguanil whereas the NHS site recommends atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone) OR doxycycline OR mefloquine (Lariam) for the same areas. Either advice can be followed as there is a case for and against both.

The map below and the text below the map come from India and Goa page of The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) (June 2013)

Malaria is a serious febrile illness caused by infection of red blood cells with Plasmodium sp. parasites: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. Malaria prevention advice for this country follows the Health Protection Agency, Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention (ACMP) guidelines.

Risk assessment

There is a high risk of malaria in the state of Assam, India.

There is a very low risk of malaria in:

  • Southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka
  • Southern Andhra Pradesh including the city of Hyderabad
  • Rajasthan including the city of Jaipur
  • Uttar Pradesh including the city of Agra
  • Punjab
  • The cities of Mumbai (Bombay) and Delhi

There is no risk of malaria in the Lakshadweep islands.

There is a risk of malaria in the rest of India (including Goa).

India – a traveller’s story

Dream trip turned into a nightmare by not taking her malaria tablets – read the full story.

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