Insect Diseases

Malaria

malaria

Malaria is the world’s most devastating disease and kills more people than any other communicable disease except Tuberculosis. It is currently endemic in almost 100 countries and most prevalent in Africa, Asia and India.

Worldwide, between 300-500 million cases are reported each year and Malaria is responsible for more than one million deaths annually.

Malaria is a parasitic infection of the blood, which is transmitted by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito. There are different strains of malaria, which vary in severity, however the most common strain Plasmodium Falciparum, also known as Malignant Malaria, is the most dangerous strain and can be fatal. The flu-like symptoms can include fever, headaches, vomiting and aching muscles and joints.

Malaria is both preventable and curable. Before travelling it is important to check with your GP or travel clinic for up-to-date advice on anti-malarial medication and remember you may need to start taking treatment up to 3 weeks before travelling. However, no anti-malarial drug provides 100% protection, therefore your first line of defence should be to avoid being bitten. Please see our section on prevention.

Travellers should alert their GP of any fever like illness occurring after leaving an endemic area.

You can also check the country you plan to visit on our malaria map.

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever (also known as break bone fever) is a viral illness transmitted by the Aedes mosquito, which tend to be more active during the day. Most commonly found throughout the tropics and subtropics, Dengue Fever is endemic in approximately 100 countries. It is estimated that there are currently 50 million cases of the disease reported each year. Symptoms include a sudden onset of high fever, skin sensitivity, joint and muscle pains, headache and rashes.

Seek professional medical advice prior to visiting a high-risk area. There is no vaccine available for Dengue Fever so protection against being bitten is vital. See our section on prevention.

Travellers should alert their GP of any fever like illness occurring after leaving an endemic area.

You can also check the country you plan to visit on our malaria map.

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever is a serious viral infection, which is spread by the Aedes Egyptii mosquito and is endemic in Africa and South America.

Although a very rare disease if infection occurs the risk of dying from yellow fever is significant.

Initial symptoms occur 3 to 6 days after exposure and include fever, nausea, vomiting, stomach-ache, headache and muscle pain. In severe cases jaundice occurs, which is the classic symptom of Yellow Fever, yellow skin and eyes.

Seek professional medical advice prior to visiting a high-risk area. There is no treatment for Yellow Fever and this disease can only be prevented by immunisation and mosquito bite avoidance. See our section on prevention.

Travellers should alert their GP of any fever like illness occurring after leaving an endemic area.

You can also check the country you plan to visit on our malaria map.

West Nile Virus

West Nile Virus

WNV can infect humans, birds, mosquitoes, horses and some other mammals, but is most common in birds. It is found in Africa, West Asia, Australasia, the Middle East and more recently, in North America, where in 2003 it was responsible for over 250 deaths.

Spread by the bite of an infected mosquito, in humans it generally produces only a mild illness. But, like many other arboviruses, it can produce serious infection of the brain, or encephalitis.

The incubation period is between 3 and 15 days – however, 80% of those infected will not experience any symptoms and 20% will develop flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache and general aches and pains, which usually last between 3 and 6 days. Less than 1% of people infected with WNV will develop severe infection leading to encephalitis, which can be fatal. Severe infection is more likely in people over 50 and those with a weak immune system.

Seek professional medical advice prior to visiting a high-risk area. The best protection against this virus is bite prevention. See our section on prevention.

Travellers should alert their GP of any fever like illness occurring after leaving an endemic area.

You can also check the country you plan to visit on our malaria map.

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