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Fight the bite - advice from The Travel Clinic Ltd, Cambridge and Ipswich

There are only a handful of insect-borne diseases that are preventable with medication or immunisation. This means that the only real protection against the vast majority of diseases is bite prevention. This should always be considered as the first line of defence against any insect-borne infection.

As no vaccines or medications are 100% effective, bite prevention is an added measure to preventing disease.

Dengue is endemic in South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent, the Pacific region as far south as Queensland in Australia, the Caribbean Islands, northern and eastern parts of Central and South America, to a lesser extent the Middle East and sporadically in Africa.

Dengue develops as a feverous illness within 3 to 8 days. Painkillers and intravenous fluids are the usual treatments. In severe cases hospitalisation may be required.

At present there is no vaccine available against Dengue fever and the only protection is through insect bite avoidance.
Here at The Travel Clinic we see about 5-8 people a week who have suffered from dengue fever while away

Countries reporting outbreaks in July 2010:

Yeman, Guadeloupe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Honduras, Brazil, Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore Dominican Republic French Guiana,, Colombia, Martinique, Thailand, Malaysia, and Myanmar.

Japanese B encephalitis also spread by mosquitoes causes a fever, headache, convulsions, encephalitis and meningitis and especially cranial nerve paralysis.

Prolonged recovery and post viral debility are common. Many who recover are left with disabilities. There is no effective anti-viral therapy and treatment is symptomatic.

There are outbreaks once again in India, in Manipur state where 88 individuals are still hospitalized and Nepal. Asia is at particularly at high risk post monsoons.

Vaccination should be considered for repeated visits to, or prolonged stays (e.g.: >1 month) in endemic areas in Asia and especially if staying in rural areas. Vaccination is important for infants and children who may be more likely to get serious disease. Short stays in rural parts can also pose a risk, particularly during epidemics that often follow the start of the rainy season when mosquitoes are most active. Travellers should be advised to stay in screened areas or air conditioned rooms. Where this is not possible then the use of a bed net is strongly advised. The traveller should also be given advice on bite avoidance and the use of insect repellents.

Whereas previous vaccines can induce allergic reactions and also requires three doses to complete the course, IXIARO has a much safer side-effect profile and requires only two doses.

Insect Bite Avoidance

Insect Repellents: Many different types of repellents are available. The most strongly recommended is a DEET based repellent ideally between 30 and 50% for skin use apply during the day as well as evening if at risk from day lighting biting mosquitoes.

Mosquito Net: Extremely effective recommended in a variety of circumstances. If sprayed/treated with permetherin the effectiveness of the net is greatly increased against all biting mosquitoes and other insects. Nets should either be tucked under the mattress or groundsheet to prevent access by insects.

Air Conditioning: If sleeping in an air-conditioned room, windows should be left closed to prevent access from mosquitoes. As there is no risk of contact from mosquitoes a net is not required.

Room Protection: All screens and shutters should be shut, ideally at dusk to reduce access by mosquitoes. Before sleep the room should be sprayed with a knock down spray to kill any insects that may have entered during the day. Pyrethroid products may be used such as plug-ins and coils. And or candles, coils and cones may be used.

Clothing: High necked, light coloured clothing, long sleeves and shirts, trousers or long skirts are preferable to vests, shorts and bikinis, especially after dusk.

EX4 is an Anti-Mosquito Fabric Treatment that’s new on to the market. It protects you and your fabrics from the build up of bacteria and from biting insects. By simply spraying this treatment onto fabrics and textiles, you are adding an effective layer of protection to the fibres of the fabric that can last for 32 washes or up to two years.

The Travel Clinic Ltd has a full range of anti-malarials, insect repellents and mosquito nets in stock. If you would like to find out more please contact us at

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Providers of specialist health care when travelling. Vaccines and malaria tablets.

We offer vaccinations to children of all ages, from Chicken Pox vaccines to Hep A/B.

We are available to offer vaccinations and specialst travel advice for the Business Traveller, Back Paker and Holiday maker along with in depth country specific travel profile and risk assesments. All our information is updated daily so that you will receive the latest advice.

We can also arrange blood tests where necessary.

We offer not just travel vaccinations but vaccines for occupational requirements. We can also offer BCG, Shingles and Chicken Pox vaccine, and HPV vaccine.