Is there Malaria in Brazil? If so, what pills do I need to take?
Yes, there is malaria in many parts of Brazil, and more than one type: about 75% of cases in Brazil are caused by Plasmodium vivax, whereas the rest are from infections with P. falciparum, the more acute and dangerous species of malaria. Brazil does have good information as to the distribution of malaria across the country; in terms of affected states, the full list is as follows:
Acre, Amapa, Amazonas, Maranhao (western part), Mato Grosso (northern part), Para (except Belem City), Rondonia, Roraima, and Tocantins.
This includes cities within the above districts, such as Boa Vista, Macapa, Manaus, Maraba, Porto Velho and Santarem, and particularly on the outskirts where transmission is highest. It is worth noting that malaria is not considered to be a problem in the region of Iguassu Falls.
In terms of malaria prevention, the CDC recommends Larium (mefloquine is the generic name), Malarone (atovaquone or proguanil are the generic names) or doxycycline, due to the presence of chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum in some areas. Deciding between which of these to take depends on a number of factor, including cost, known side-effects, and, not least of all, personal preference. For a discussion on the pros and cons of these various form of prophylaxis, check out the discussion “Malaria Prophylaxis” on this website.