Mosquito and the diseases they carry:
When you travel to places where you are likely to encounter mosquito-borne infectious diseases, preparation and precautions are essential in preventing mosquito bites or illness.
Malaria requires advanced preparation to prevent infection. Female Anopheles mosquitoes carry a parasite which, when introduced by a bite, infects red blood cells, causing symptoms of light-headedness, shortness of breath, rapid heart rate, fever, chills, weakness, nausea and general muscle aches. In severe cases, coma and death can occur.
No vaccine is available; however, oral prescription medications prevent infection in most cases. Your physician can recommend which one of several medications is best for you, and give you a prescription. Follow the prescription directions, beginning the medication one week prior to departure. Complete the entire schedule of doses, which can take up to four-to-six weeks, depending on the medication your doctor prescribes. If you discontinue the medication early, you can become infected. Avoiding mosquito bites is the primary way to prevent Malaria infection.
Other Mosquito-borne Infectious Diseases
Mosquitoes carry two other viral diseases: Dengue Fever and Encephalitis (also known as Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile, Chandipura, St. Louis Encephalitis, Equine Encephalitis, La Crosse Encephalitis, Murray Valley Encephalitis, California Encephalitis and Russian Spring-Summer Encephalitis).
Sometimes misdiagnosed as influenza, the symptoms of Dengue Fever include sudden onset of fever, severe headache, muscle and joint pains, stomachache, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Occasionally, a bright red rash appears on the lower limbs and chest. The illness lasts up to seven days. There is no vaccination to prevent Dengue Fever, and the infection can be spread from person to person through blood exposure.
Persons with Encephalitis experience fever, headache and sensitivity to light, as well as weakness, seizures, and neck stiffness.
No vaccines are available to protect against these illnesses, therefore, avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent infection
Yellow fever is a viral disease transmitted to humans through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Symptoms vary in severity from a flu-like fever to jaundice, severe liver infection, organ failure, or hemorrhagic fever progressing to death. The disease occurs in sub-Saharan Africa and tropical South America. Because deaths have occurred among unvaccinated tourists, all travelers are required to show proof of immunization when visiting countries where Yellow Fever occurs.
Schedule the vaccination at least ten days before travel. Immunity lasts for ten years. The immunization will be recorded on an International Certificate of Vaccination Do not take the injection if you are allergic to egg-based vaccines; your doctor can give you a Letter of Waiver to carry with you.
Preventing Mosquito Bites is the best way to prevent disease from a mosquito bite.
Stay indoors at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and clothing that minimizes exposed skin.
Apply insect repellents containing Permethrin to clothing, shoes, tents, mosquito nets, and other gear for greater protection. Permethrin cannot be used directly on skin.
Use a repellent with DEET on skin. Apply sunscreen first, then insect repellent.
Always sleep with a Permethrin-treated mosquito net tucked in around the bed.
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