Many travellers believe they are fully covered against disease once they are vaccinated for their holiday. If visiting a malaria zone, travellers will be provided with anti-malarial tablets.
However even with Malaria the advice does not stop there. Additionally, there are several other diseases which are also spread by insects including ticks which are not covered by vaccinations or anti-malarials.
The most common are Dengue fever and Zika. Some of the less common insect or tick-borne diseases include;
African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), African tick bite fever, Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever, Leishmaniasis, Rift Valley fever and West Nile virus, Chikungunya and scrub typhus.
The best way to protect against these diseases is a solid bite prevention strategy. With malaria zones antimalarials should be the first line of defence supported by the same bite prevention strategy.
Top tips to avoid being bitten by include;
- Covering up skin as much as possible if going out at night wear loose fitting clothes, long sleeves, trousers or long skirts.
- Use insect repellents on exposed skin. Clothes can be sprayed with repellents too or clothing specific sprays e.g. permethrin. Check suitability for children on the individual products. If using sunscreen always apply first, followed by an insect repellent spray on top.
- If room is not air conditioned, but is screened, close shutters early evening and spray room with knockdown insecticide spray. If camping, or sleeping in unprotected accommodation, always sleep under a mosquito net (impregnated with permethrin). Avoid camping near areas of stagnant water, these are common breeding areas for mosquitoes etc.
- Electric insecticide vaporisers are very effective if there are no power failures!
- There is no scientific evidence that electric buzzers, savoury yeast extract, tea tree oil, bath oils, garlic and vitamin B are effective.
There are a wide range of insect repellents sprays, lotions and creams available from Global Health Travel Clinics. A limited number of mosquito nets are also available.