In the past, when travelers planed to visit tropical countries, their doctors would recommended antimalarial medication to prevent malaria if their destination were malaria risk area. So generally, the doctors had 2 options i.e. prescribe or not prescribe antimalarial prophylaxis depend the area.
The concept of “Standby emergency treatment of malaria (SBET)” is relatively new. It is a good alternative in the low risk area of malaria. In that area, the chance for the traveler to actually get malaria while they travel is low or very low. So the benefit of antimalarial prophylaxis is minimum. Such as, if the estimate risk to get malaria in area A is equal to 1 in 10,000. If travelers take chemoprophylaxis, the risk may reduced to 1:100,000. Please be informed NO antimalarial prophylaxis is 100% effective. So the risk is never be zero.
You’ll see, we could reduce the chance to get malaria from 1:10,000 to 1:100,000 when using chemoprophylaxis. But keep in mind that, if you use chemoprophylaxis, you may have some side-effects from malaria medication. Although most people are doing well with malaria medication, some may develop side effect which may be severe. That’s a risk also.
So we have to consider the risk to develop severe side-effect of antimalarial medication and the risk to get malaria. Benefit from medication should be outweigh their risk. For example, if you travel in high risk area such as Sub-Saharan Africa or Papau New Guinea, malaria risk is so high, so antimalarial prophylaxis is a good and reasonable option.
But if the chance to get malaria is very low, what should we do. Here’s come the concept of Standby Emergency Treatment.
Below is the useful information about SBET from our offical website; or you may visit this link http://www.thaitravelclinic.com/Knowledge/standby-emergency-treatment-of-malaria.html
Standby emergency treatment of malaria is another strategy to help the travelers safe from malaria. It is not the medication for prevention of malaria. That means there is no need to take the medication before or during trip in order to prevent malaria. In fact, it is a medication set for treatment of malaria. It can be used in case of emergency only. Just take this medication once when you develop fever while or after traveling in malaria risk area. And you could not seek for any medical care to check your blood.
In that case, there is no way to know that you really get malaria or not. However when consider the fact that malaria especially P.falciparum is fatal if not promptly treated. So SBET may be life-saving.
Doctors may prescribe SBET in some circumstances such as
When the risk of the travelers to get malaria is low (if it is high, we should consider prophylaxis regimen)
The travel destinations is remote and medical care may not be available
Travelers must be advised and fully understood when and how to use SBET
Consider to use SBET when you
- Has been stayed in the malaria risk area for more than 1 week.
- Has fever with/without chill, abdominal pain, N/V, muscle ache, headache
- Medical services not available within 12-24 hrs.
- Take medications as prescribed
- Seek for medical care as soon as possible even after self-treated (to confirm diagnosis)
Continue reading in part 2 (Expert opinion regarding standby emergency treatment of malaria)
Continue reading in part 3 (Recommended SBET in Thailand and Southeast Asia)