Updated: Jul 24
When people think about traveling to Africa, the first thing that comes to mind is not usually mosquito-borne diseases. But the fact is that Africa is home to some of the most dangerous and widespread mosquito-borne illnesses in the world. Knowing how to protect yourself while visiting the continent can make all the difference when it comes to your health and safety.
Malaria, a disease caused by Plasmodium parasites, is one of the most common and deadly mosquito-borne diseases in all of Africa. The symptoms of malaria include high fever, chills, flu-like aches and pains, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, malaria can also cause anemia, jaundice, seizures and even death if left untreated. To protect yourself from malaria while traveling in Africa, be sure to wear protective clothing such as long sleeves and pants; use insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin; sleep under a bed net; and take antimalarial medications as directed by your doctor.
Yellow fever is another serious mosquito-borne disease that is endemic in parts of Africa. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, nausea and vomiting. In severe cases, yellow fever can cause liver failure and even death if left untreated. To reduce your risk of contracting yellow fever while traveling in Africa, make sure you get vaccinated at least 10 days before you leave for your trip. Also be sure to take precautions against mosquitoes such as wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent containing DEET or picaridin.
Dengue fever is another mosquito-borne illness that is common in parts of Africa. Symptoms may range from mild (fever) to severe (abdominal pain). There is no vaccine available for dengue fever so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself from mosquitoes while traveling in areas where it’s prevalent such as wearing protective clothing and using insect repellent with DEET or picaridin.
While visiting any part of the African continent can be an amazing experience full of adventure and discovery, it’s important for travelers to be aware of the potential risks associated with mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria, yellow fever and dengue fever. Taking preventive measures such as wearing protective clothing and using insect repellents containing DEET or picaridin can help ensure a safe journey no matter where you go during your travels!