Protecting Yourself from a Deadly Bite
Mosquito bites interfere with many outdoor activities. Without a doubt, mosquitoes are bothersome and disruptive; worse yet, they are potentially dangerous. They can carry a number of serious diseases that are transferable to humans. Before traveling to foreign places, familiarize yourself with the country’s known potential diseases and the particular vaccines available to prevent illness.
Is there a West Nile Vaccine?
Unfortunately, no. The West Nile virus is an emerging infectious disease that was first detected in the United States in 1999. Read more details on the history of the West Nile virus here. The virus is most commonly transmitted to birds and other animals. However, the bite of an infected female mosquito can infect a human. At the present time, due to the potentially fatal outcome of the disease, scientists and public health officials are vigorously searching for a successful vaccine.
The Yellow Fever Vaccine
Yellow Fever is a tropical disease found in Africa and South America and is transmitted to humans via an infected mosquito. The disease is life-threatening and humans require a vaccine in order to protect themselves from contracting it. It is recommended that the Yellow Fever vaccine be given at least 10 days before arriving in an area where the disease is prevalent. The Yellow Fever vaccine must be administered by an approved Yellow Fever vaccination centre which will issue a medical card proving vaccination. The treatment is given in a single 0.5 subcutaneous injection. Reactions to the injection are mild and range from headaches, to low-grade fevers, to muscle aches. It is recommended that you receive a booster dose every 10 years.
Has a Malaria Vaccine been Developed?
No malaria vaccine has been approved for use on humans. The malaria parasite has a complicated and ever-changing life cycle making it difficult to treat infected individuals. However, there are anti-malaria drugs that can be taken to prevent the illness, but you must consult your doctor to find an approved drug.
What is Dengue?
Dengue is a rapidly spreading disease found in most tropical and sub-tropical parts of the world. The disease is caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. In a worst case scenario, an individual can die. The potentially fatal disease is characterized by hemorrhaging and hypotension. There is no vaccine for this disease, but travelers can take certain precautions by wearing long clothes, using insect repellent and staying within screened-in areas whenever possible.
Eastern Equine Encephalitis
The Eastern Equine Encephalitis disease is a mosquito-borne disease that has been detected in the eastern part of the United States. The disease has a high fatality rate and is therefore one of the most serious mosquito-borne diseases in the U.S. A vaccine is available for horses, but no such protection has been discovered for humans yet.
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