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Mosquito borne infections

Mosquito borne infections - How to prevent?

People at risk

People are at risk when they are travelling to places where mosquitoes are breeding. Different species of mosquitoes are active during different times of the day and are found in different geographic locations. The type of mosquito borne infections acquired is also dependent on travel and exposure history. 

Prevention

In tropical countries including Singapore, mosquitoes are active year-round. Mosquitoes may bite during the day or evening, both indoors and outdoors depending on the species. The best way to prevent the illnesses they spread is to: 
Prevent mosquito bites
  • Apply mosquito repellent to exposed skin. Always follow the product label instructions and reapply as directed. 
  • Do not apply repellent on cuts, wounds on irritated skin. 
  • If you are also using sunscreen, apply sunscreen before insect repellent.  
  • Do not apply repellent near the eyes or mouth, and apply sparingly around ears.  
  • When using spray repellent, do not spray directly on the face. Spray it on the hands first and then apply it to the face. 
  • Wear light-coloured, long-sleeved clothing to reduce exposed skin. 
  • Stay in accommodations that are air conditioned or use window screens. 
  • Sleep under mosquito nets. 
Prevent mosquito breeding inside and outside your home 
  • Change water in vases and bowls on alternate days. 
  • Remove water from flower pot plates on alternate days. Clean and scrub the plate thoroughly to remove mosquito eggs. 
  • Turn over water storage containers. This prevents water from collecting inside. 
  • Loosen soil from potted plants to prevent the accumulation of stagnant water on the surface of the hardened soil. 
  • Clear blockages to prevent build-up of stagnant water, and put Bacillus thuringiensis (BTI) insecticide in roof gutters monthly. 

Protect yourself from mosquito-borne infections while traveling  
  • If you are traveling, consult a healthcare provider familiar with travel medicine, even if you are well. You should visit early, ideally 4 – 6 weeks before your trip (link to travel clinic). Your doctor can advise you on measures which can be taken to avoid infectious diseases to which you may be exposed while overseas. These measure may include vaccinations, medications to reduce the risk of acquiring infections, or measures to reduce exposure.   
  • Check about country-specific risks and recommendations by visiting CDC traveller’s health website (http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel)

Vaccination

Vaccines against Yellow Fever, Japanese encephalitis, and dengue are currently licensed and available in Singapore. You should consult your doctor for advice on vaccination. 

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