A woman from Klang was tested positive for the mosquito-borne virus after a visit to Singapore, where 115 people have been infected. The 58-year-old victim had shown symptoms of rash and fever after she returned from the neighbouring country on August 21. Although she displays symptoms of Zika infection, she is currently still classified as "suspected infection" while waiting for her blood test result.
The Zika virus, which has spread through the Americas and the Caribbean since late last year, is generally a mild disease but is particularly risky to pregnant women. This is because It has been linked to microcephaly - a severe birth defect in which babies are born with abnormally small heads and underdeveloped brains.
Since the outbreak, travellers have been advised to take extra precaution, especially when they visit the affected countries. However, no one can completely avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes, but thankfully there are a couple of things that you can do to minimise your risk of mosquito bites.
1. Avoid mosquito hotspots
One way you can avoid mosquito bites when travelling is to check if your holiday destination is a hot spot for mosquito activity, or in particular areas where the mosquito borne diseases are more prevalent.
2. Wear light colours
A little known fact is that mosquitoes are attracted to dark colours. According to Dr. Jonathan Day, a professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, mosquitoes are highly visual, especially later in the afternoon, and their first mode of search for humans is through vision. People wearing in dark colors, such as black, navy blue, red have been proven to attract more mosquito bites than those dressed in lighter colour.
3. Use mosquito repellent
When it comes to avoiding nasty bites, mosquito repellent that contains diethyltoluamide (DEET) is your best friend! You can buy mosquito repellents from your local pharmacy, and apply to any exposed areas of the skin. It's a good idea to apply insect repellent before leaving your hotel or apartment, especially during the later parts of the day.
4. Avoid certain times of day
Generally, mosquitoes are most active at dusk and dawn, although this may differ depending on the species. These times of the day are often cooler and less windy making conditions more favourable for mosquitoes. To avoid mosquito bites it’s a good idea to plan any activities you might have during the times of day when mosquitoes are less active.
5. Wear appropriate clothing
Oftenly mosquitoes prefer to bite on any area of exposed skin. Because of this, it’s a good idea to wear long sleeved clothing to protect yourself against nasty mosquito bites.
6. Remove standing water
Standing water provides mosquitoes with the perfect breeding ground! Hence, you can avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes by making your accommodation less appealing to mosquitoes. This can simply be done by remembering to empty water out of glasses, mugs, and cups if being left outside.
7. Stay protected with mosquito net
How many times have you woken up to find yourself scarred with mosquito bites? That’s because, when conditions are favourable, a mosquito’s dining experience can lead well into the night. Preventing mosquito bites can be done with the use of an insect net. Do check if your accommodation has either mosquito nets around the bed, or insect screens on the doors and windows.
Zika is a threat that can be prevented with the right precautions, like many other risks that holidaymakers face while traveling. Therefore, always stay prepared, stock up your mosquito repellent, be vigilant to your surrounding and enjoy your adventure!
Download our infographic to learn more about Zika Virus infection.