The death toll is mounting.

NY Times: George Clooney Answers Your Questions About Malaria

February 8, 2011, 5:29 pm

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

My former travel buddy, George Clooney, caught malaria in January on a trip to Sudan (see what happens when I’m not around to look out for him?). This seemed an opportunity to shine a spotlight on malaria, one of the scourges of much of the developing world, and George agreed to respond to reader questions. Thanks to all for submitting your questions–and I’m truly sorry that the answers were delayed. We were about to post these answers when Egypt intervened and I was too busy dodging pro-Mubarak thugs in Cairo to focus on this. So without further ado, George and I are finally responding.

Nicholas Kristof and George Clooney in Chad in 2009.Nicholas D. Kristof/The New York Times Nicholas Kristof and George Clooney in Chad in 2009.
Q.

I am wondering how Mr Clooney is feeling. I had a friend with malaria who was very, very ill!!
Sue

A.

I’m feeling much better thank you.
— George Clooney

Q.

What side effects did you have? And what were your symptoms when malaria was detected?
Gayle

A.

Not much in side effects, the symptoms are fever, the chills, and exciting adventures in the toilet..weak..really just very bad flu conditions with a little food poisoning thrown in to make you the perfect party guest.
— George Clooney

Q.

Was Mr. Clooney taking any medications for malaria prophylaxis? And if so, how faithfully was he taking them? I hope he visited a travel medicine specialist prior to his trip!
Mo

A.

I don’t know about George, but I wasn’t taking malaria pills when I caught malaria in Congo in 1997. I learned my lesson and now usually take Larium when going to a malarial place in Africa. But some people don’t react well to Larium, and so I sometimes steer others toward Malarone. About five Americans die a year from malaria, usually after travel to the developing world, so it’s worth taking it seriously — and seeking treatment immediately if you develop the symptoms after such a trip.

— Nicholas Kristof

 

Q.

George – A dear friend of mine had malaria…does it recur? And if you’ve had it once, can you get it again?
BrazenMuse

A.

It can…it depends on what type you get..i didn’t get that strain thankfully.
— George Clooney

Q.

George – How did your treatment for malaria differ from the treatment that the average Sudanese would receive?
Joy F.

A.

I had drugs to take before during and after…pills that should be just provided to these people, like a polio vaccine..life saving drugs for diseases that kill millions needlessly, belong to mankind not to companies to profit from….we need another Jonas Salk.
— George Clooney

A.

The average Sudanese in rural areas might not receive any treatment for malaria at all. In rural Africa, any fever is regarded as malaria, and people just suffer and usually recover; there seems to be a certain amount of resistance that builds up among healthy adults. So many people suffer malaria many, many times. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to dying from it, while healthy adults normally survive, although it can be lethal for them as well.
— Nicholas Kristof

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2 responses

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