Caution: Mosquito borne diseases still a global threat for travelers

Mosquito borne diseases, specifically malaria, dengue, yellow fever, zika, and chikungunya have resulted in millions of hospital admissions and deaths every year. It is extremely important to take the necessary precautions to avoid bites, especially when traveling to affected regions. 
For most mosquito borne diseases, there are no known cures (with the exception of malaria), therefore, the best way to protect yourself when traveling is to avoid bites all together.

This can be done several ways:
  • Wearing long sleeved shirts and pants 
  • Choosing a hotel (or any place to stay) that has air conditioning, or screens on the windows and doors. 
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net, especially if your lodging does not have proper screening. 
  • Covering yourself with insect repellant, even your clothes (as mosquitos can often bite through them)


Close to 40% of the world’s population lives in regions threatened by malaria, more precisely about 3.2 billion people. Malaria has an incubation period of 7-30 days, meaning symptoms won’t be observed directly after a bite. 
Symptoms: Chills, fever, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches, weakness, enlarged spleen, increased respiratory rate, enlargement of liver. 
Malaria can also be complicated by organ failures or abnormalities in the victim’s metabolism or blood, in which case the symptoms can be much more severe and life threatening. 
Treatment: varies depending on the type of mosquito involved, the clinical status of the victim, and where in the world the disease was contracted. 



Dengue is common in mostly urban and semi urban settings. As many as 400 million people can be infected every year. 
Symptoms: high fever, headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding (possibly through nose or gums, or easy bruising). 
Dengue hemorrhagic fever (Severe Dengue) can be passed with the same virus that transmits dengue. It is less common, but much more severe. Symptoms start with a fever lasting 2-7 days. The end of the fever could mark the start of severe abdominal pain and vomiting, as well as the failure of the circulatory system, shock, and death if circulation is not repaired. Hemorrhaging and internal bleeding are also possible. 
Treatment: There is no specific medication, however if you have contracted dengue the best thing to do is take pain relievers with acetaminophen, and get plenty of rest and fluids. 


Yellow Fever 

Yellow fever is primarily present in tropical and subtropical areas in South America and Africa, and has an incubation period of 3-6 days. 

Symptoms: Fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. 

Roughly 15% of people who contract yellow fever develop a more severe form of the disease. Symptoms include high fever, jaundice, bleeding, and eventually shock and failure of multiple organs. 

Treatment: No specific treatment. Rest, fluids, and pain medication should be used to decrease discomfort. 


Most people infected with Zika won’t notice any symptoms, and will have no clue they have been infected. The only way to know for sure is to get tested. A pregnant woman can pass the virus to a fetus, which can result in birth defects. 
Symptoms (if detected at all): Fever, rash, headache, joint pain, conjunctivitis (red eyes), and muscle pain.
Treatment: Get plenty of rest, and fluids to prevent dehydration. Take over the counter medicine to reduce fever and pain.



Most people infected will experience the onset of symptoms (3-7 days after being bitten). The majority of victims make a full recovery in less than a week, with some cases of prolonged joint pain (1-2 months) reported. 

Symptoms: Fever and joint pain. Sometimes: headache, muscle pain, rash, or joint swelling 
Treatment: There is no specific vaccine. Get plenty of rest, and hydration. Take over the counter medicine to reduce the fever and pain. Also prevent mosquito bites, as a mosquito will be able to infect those around you after biting you. 
Posted: 7/20/2017 1:31:56 PM