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Medication for Travel-Related Infections

Medications are used in the treatment of most types of travel-associated infections. NYU Langone doctors prescribe medications based on the species of parasite or bacterium causing the infection and the part of the world where the infection was acquired.

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Information gathered from blood tests can help a doctor determine if the parasite or bacterium is resistant to certain medications. This can also establish the best medication for managing the condition.

After a doctor identifies the cause of your illness, a treatment plan is started.

Medications for Malaria

For people with malaria, a doctor may prescribe antimalarial medications, such as atovaquone–proguanil or mefloquine. Antibiotics, such as doxycycline and clindamycin, may also be prescribed in combination with an antimalarial medication called quinine.

These medications are taken by mouth in pill form. The length of treatment varies from a few days to a week, depending on the medication. Side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, dizziness, trouble sleeping, and headaches. People who are extremely ill may require hospitalization.

Medications for Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is treated with antibiotics. Doctors prescribe ciprofloxacin or azithromycin, which are taken by mouth in pill form.

Ceftriaxone is the medication of choice for people ill enough to require hospitalization. The medication is administered through a vein with an intravenous (IV) infusion.

The length of treatment varies based on the medication prescribed. Side effects may include dizziness, headaches, upset stomach, and abdominal pain.

Treatment for Dengue

There is no specific medication available to treat dengue. Your doctor may recommend a pain reliever with acetaminophen to help reduce your fever. Doctors do not prescribe medications with aspirin or ibuprofen, because they can worsen bleeding in people with dengue hemorrhagic fever.

People with dengue should rest and drink plenty of fluids. If you feel worse in the first 24 hours after your fever goes down, you should go immediately to a hospital to be checked for complications, such as internal bleeding or organ dysfunction.

Because dengue has no known cure or vaccine, doctors treat a person’s symptoms. People with dengue may need more intensive care, such as IV fluids and electrolytes to treat dehydration, blood transfusions to help stop bleeding, or oxygen therapy to treat abnormally low levels of oxygen in the blood.

Treatment for Chikungunya

There is no medication available to treat a chikungunya infection. Your doctor may recommend a pain reliever, such as such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or acetaminophen, to help reduce fever and alleviate joint pain.

Getting plenty of rest and drinking fluids to prevent dehydration can help ease symptoms.

Our Research and Education in Travel-Related Infections

Learn more about our research and professional education opportunities.