So what is the world’s deadliest creature? The shark? The snake? The crocodile? Wrong! The world’s deadliest creature by far is the mosquito! These insects are vectors for many deadly diseases. There are vaccines available for some of these diseases, but sadly not all - and a number of these diseases can prove fatal.
The tropics are popular destinations for both holidaymakers and mosquitoes alike. Thailand has a climate typical of the tropics: hot and humid with wet and dry seasons. In December, the average temperature in Bangkok is 26oC, and in July the average temperature is 30oC, making it a year round sun seekers’ hotspot. These conditions also make perfect breeding grounds for mosquitoes, which favour warm, humid places to grow and thrive. Whilst the presence of these irritating insects should not put you off visiting Thailand, there are precautions you can take to reduce your risk of being bitten and to lower your chances of getting sick.
Some diseases transmitted by mosquitoes have effective and preventative vaccinations available. In Thailand, there is a risk of Japanese Encephalitis, which is carried by the Culex mosquito. This disease is mainly transmitted by mosquitoes that live in swamps and rice fields, and they mostly appear at dawn and dusk. Mild cases cause headaches, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting as well as cold and flu symptoms. If the disease develops, it can cause inflammation of the lining of the brain, which can lead to seizures and coma. Japanese Encephalitis has a high fatality rate, however the vaccine is up to 98% effective. It is given as a course of two doses, ideally 28 days apart - although, if you are pushed for time, the second dose can be given as soon as 7 days after the first. Even if you only have time for one dose, one is always better than none! If you are likely to be spending extended periods of time in the rice fields or trekking through remote regions, the Japanese Encephalitis vaccine should definitely be considered. Book your Jap E vaccine with us by clicking the button below.
Malaria is another debilitating disease that is transmitted via mosquito bites. Bangkok, Chang Mai and the Thai islands are all low risk of malaria; however for visitors travelling over the borders to Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, the risk area around the border area is high and anti-malarials tablets are advised. Our clinics also provide malaria medication, and you can get them by booking an appointment with us.
Thailand occasionally experiences outbreaks of Dengue Fever, Chikungunya Fever and Zika Virus. They all share similar symptoms including headache, joint/muscle pain, cold and flu symptoms, and can develop into potentially deadly illnesses. These diseases are all carried by the Aedes mosquito, which is most active during the height of the day. At the present, there are no vaccines available for these diseases, so it is essential that visitors do all they can to dodge mosquito bites to avoid contraction.
Here are some handy tips to avoid getting bitten:
- Use a mosquito repellent with a concentration of at least 50% DEET and re-apply regularly throughout the day.
- Cover areas of exposed skin with long clothing.
- Use a Permethrin based fabric spray on your clothing. This will kill any bugs on contact!
- Avoid dark coloured clothing (mosquitoes are attracted to heat and dark clothing retains more heat than light clothing.)
- Hang a mosquito net above your bed (ensure your net has been treated with Permethrin.)
- If your hotel has air conditioning then use it! Mosquitoes hate the cold.
We stock a good selection of mosquito repellents, fabric sprays and nets in our central London clinics. Find your nearest branch by calling us or clicking the button below.