Diseases

To avoid serious insect-borne disease it's important to educate and arm yourself.

Learn about the key diseases that insects can transmit to humans.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS:
Due to climate change, mosquitoes carrying dengue fever have recently been found in Europe and the UK. Stay informed by regularly checking the news for updates on cases in your area or destinations you plan to visit.

Hot Spots:
Dengue is prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, particularly in Southeast Asia, the Pacific islands, the Caribbean, Central and South America, and parts of Africa. The peak season for dengue transmission coincides with the rainy season, when mosquito breeding is most active.

Symptoms:
Symptoms usually begin 4-10 days after the mosquito bite and include sudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, rash, and mild bleeding (e.g., nose or gum bleed, easy bruising). Severe dengue, also known as dengue hemorrhagic fever, can cause plasma leaking, fluid accumulation, respiratory distress, severe bleeding, or organ impairment.

Treatments and Precautions:
Dengue cannot currently be treated. Management includes hydration, pain relief (paracetamol), and monitoring for complications. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and staying in accommodations with screens or air conditioning. Eliminate standing water around living areas to reduce mosquito breeding sites.

Hot Spots:
Lyme disease is most common in the north eastern, mid-Atlantic, and north-central United States, as well as in Europe and temperate parts of Asia. Peak seasons for tick bites are late spring to early summer and autumn.

Symptoms:
Early signs include a "bull's-eye" rash, migraines, fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.

Treatments and Precautions:
Early-stage Lyme disease is treatable with antibiotics so visit your doctor as soon as possible. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, performing thorough tick checks after outdoor activities, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding areas with high tick populations. If a tick is found, remove it promptly and carefully with fine-tipped tweezers.

Hot Spot:
Malaria is widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and parts of the Middle East. Transmission is highest during and after the rainy season when mosquito populations surge.

Symptoms:
Symptoms typically appear 10-15 days after the infective mosquito bite and include fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, and fatigue.

Treatments and Precautions:
Common antimalarial medications can be taken so it’s imperative to seek medical help immediately. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and taking antimalarial prophylactic drugs when traveling to high-risk areas.

Hot Spots:
Zika virus is common in tropical and subtropical regions, particularly in South and Central America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and parts of Africa. Peak transmission seasons align with the rainy season when mosquito activity is heightened.

Symptoms:
Most people infected with Zika virus are asymptomatic. When symptoms occur, they include mild fever, rash, joint pain, conjunctivitis, muscle pain, and headaches. In pregnant women, Zika infection can cause severe birth defects.

Treatments and Precautions:
There are currently no medical treatments for Zika virus. Supportive care includes rest, hydration, and taking paracetamol for pain and fever. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and avoiding travel to areas with active Zika transmission, especially if pregnant. Stay in air-conditioned or screened accommodations, eliminate standing water to reduce mosquito breeding sites and use contraceptive measures (e.g. condoms) if a sexual partner has travelled to Zika-prone areas.

Hot Spots:
Chikungunya is prevalent in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Outbreaks are common during and after the rainy season when mosquito breeding intensifies.

Symptoms:
Symptoms usually appear 4-8 days after the mosquito bite and include a sudden high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, headaches, skin rashes, fatigue, and feeling nauseous. Joint pain can persist for weeks or months.

Treatments and Precautions:
Without a known treatment you must focus on rest, drinking fluids, and seeking advice from a doctor about using pain relievers. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and staying in air-conditioned or screened areas. Reducing mosquito breeding sites by eliminating standing water is also crucial.

Hot Spots:
In tropical regions of Africa and South America this disease is classified as an endemic. Transmission peaks during and after the rainy season when mosquito populations are highest.

Symptoms:
After about 3-6 post-infection you would expect a fever, chills, severe headache, back pain, general body aches, nausea, and vomiting. In severe cases, symptoms can progress to jaundice, bleeding, and organ failure.

Treatments and Precautions:
Vaccination is highly effective and recommended for travellers going to the hot spots. With no treatment you must focus on hydration and symptom relief. Preventive measures include using incognito® insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying in accommodations with screens or air conditioning.

How to reduce the risk of insect-borne disease

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