Malaria does exist in Malaysia, but it is not common in towns. Expatriates whose work takes them to new land development areas, into the jungle or towards the Thai border should take prophylactics. They are available at any doctor’s, pharmacists or government dispensary. Like other preventatives, they must be taken regularly to be of any use, of course.
There is a certain amount of dengue hemorrhagic fever in poorly drained urban and suburban areas; the many building sites of KL are, unfortunately, ideal mosquito breeding grounds. The early symptoms of dengue are high fever, red spots, and the appearance of red or blue blotches on the skin if it has been even slightly pressed. If a person seems to be suffering from ‘measles’ that last longer than they ordinarily should, consult a doctor.
Stomach upsets happen from time to time; the dangerous ones are caused by dysentery and cholera. In Malaysia, there is such a thing as nationalistic cholera—any traveler who’s returned from Thailand or Indonesia and gets a stomach- ache is immediately suspected of having picked up cholera ‘in those parts’. We have no cholera in our own country, of course, but ‘those foreigners...
’The rare cholera outbreaks in Malaysia are well publicized to warn the travelling public away from the area for the duration. They are nearly always traced to contaminated water supplies, something residents in proper houses in the large towns don’t have to worry about.
Ulu (upcountry) residents and travelers must boil all drinking water supplies, and take care not to swallow water while taking their bath in the river. It is better to use boiled water for tooth brushing, too.