There is a lot going on with mosquitoes at the moment so I thought a quick update would be in order. Firstly, Doctors have complained to ABTA about last minute holiday makers being unprepared and bringing back malaria as an unwanted souvenir and not just any malaria either! Three people all on the same tour contracted Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly form! So now doctors want health warnings on last minute ads!
Secondly, many health professionals are woefully out of date with the advice they give out to would be travellers. Our Co-ordinator was recently informed by the nurse at his GP’s surgery that he only needs to take doxycycline on his trip to S. America (She didn’t mention insect repellent at all!) despite some resistance to this particular anti-malarial drug and certain side effects e.g. supersensitivity to light. I would have thought by now, with all the publicity surrounding Cheryl Cole’s (and others’) malaria -she contracted it whilst taking Malarone- that most people would be aware that no anti-malarial drug gives 100% protection!? The only way you can be sure not to get any malaria or any other mosquito-bourne disease is not to get bitten in the first place! Especially with resistance developing against all prophylactic drugs.
Thirdly, researchers have discovered a previously unknown subspecies of the Anopheles gambiae mosquito in West Africa that they have named Goundry, after a village in Burkina Faso. Goundry is highly susceptible to the malaria parasite and therefore a big setback to attempts to eradicate the deadly disease, because up until now all efforts have focused on the indoor variety of mosquito. However, the Goundry live outdoors, which also means they’re more difficult to kill, according to scientists writing in the journal Science last week. Incedently, incognito spray was tested on Anopheles gambiae and scored 100% efficacy in all tests.
I was speaking about avoiding insect bites at the Destinations Show last weekend and expressed CLOAK as the absolute minimum to avoid getting bitten. I will be repeating the talk at the NEC for the Destinations Show at 10.30 on the 6th March.
C – Cover up arms and legs with suitable clothing.
L – Light coloured clothing is strongly advisable.
O – Odours, bodily or otherwise like certain kairomones and perfumes are strong attractants. Therefore washing thoroughly which includes exfoliating with a loofah is essential to minimise odours.
A – Apply an effective insect repellent.
K – Keep away from stagnant water.
Lastly, so many travel professionals are unaware of mosquitoes, such as Anopheles albimanus, building up total resistance to Deet; spraying olive oil on your skin would give a similar level of protection to 100% Deet. This is an area of huge concern for all Deet users. At the recent travel show I encountered a film maker who had just returned from the Amazon covered in mosquito bites from head to toe whilst using 100% Deet. Like many people he had no idea of the resistance to Deet. It’s not just total resistance which is a problem either as scores of mosquito species have also built up partial resistance to this over-used neurotoxic repellent. I will be releasing a short viral about this subject next week.
incognito anti mosquito spray is stronger than Deet, which is why it is the only repellent that is clinically proven to protect against malaria when used in conjunction with an impregnated mosquito net.
I do hope that health professionals dishing out travel advice regarding mosquitoes and malaria get up to speed soon before this gets out of hand.