If you are planning a long-distance trip, you should arm yourself with vaccinations and drugs against exotic diseases. The reason: In many countries in Asia, Africa and South America, the fight against tropical diseases has been neglected due to the corona pandemic.
The corona pandemic has overshadowed other diseases. But just because they have lost consciousness does not mean that they have lost their danger. On the contrary: since the start of the pandemic, pathogen infections of malaria, dengue, chikungunya or Zika have increased in many non-European travel destinations, in some cases significantly. This emerges from the travel information of Envivas Krankenversicherung AG.
Special attention when traveling to Asia, Africa and South America
A fundamental reason: in developing countries, vaccination campaigns and the fight against mosquitoes have stopped or been neglected due to the corona pandemic. It is therefore recommended that vacationers wishing to travel specifically to countries in Asia, Africa or South and Central America to update their travel medical insurance in good time prior to travel.
Malaria programs have been halted due to the corona pandemic
The World Health Organization (WHO) recorded about 70,000 more deaths in 2020 alone. About two-thirds are due to malaria programs being halted due to the Covid 19 pandemic, according to WHO in its report. annual report on malaria. “Especially with malaria, one of the most dangerous infectious diseases, the risk of infection is particularly high,” says Envivas AG. The virus is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito, which is active at night and at dusk. Dengue fever, also transmitted by mosquitoes, also increased again during the pandemic due to the lack of mosquito control programs. Dengue is an acute disease with a sudden onset of fever.
Two months before departure: consult a doctor
The necessary preparations depend on the region, duration, route and planned activities. An appointment with your family doctor or travel medicine specialist is recommended six to eight weeks before the start of the trip. People with special illnesses should speak to doctors who treat them at an earlier stage.
How to protect yourself from malaria
There is no malaria vaccination with travel medicine. However, preventative medications can be started a day or two before traveling to some malarial areas. For regions with lower risk of malaria infection, the German Society of Tropical Medicine, Travel Medicine and Global Health (DTG) does not recommend permanent prophylaxis, but an immediate medical examination on site. If this is not possible within 24-48 hours, experts recommend carrying emergency medications, which should be taken immediately in case of malaria.
Dengue fever: vaccination possible
A dengue vaccine has been available for some years in some countries and has also been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA). However, its use is associated with a higher rate of severe dengue cases in some areas. Another vaccine that has been shown to be effective and safe under the current study situation is expected to be approved in the fall. There is currently no vaccination against the Zika virus.
Here’s how you protect yourself from mosquitoes
- wearing light-colored clothing impregnated with permethrin to protect yourself from mosquitoes,
- stay in mosquito-proof rooms with air conditioning and mosquito nets and use mosquito nets while sleeping,
- Spray or soak fabrics with permethrin and scrub uncovered skin with one of the Deet (30 to 50 percent) or Icaridin (20 percent) mosquito repellent perfumes.
(Source: Envivas Krankenversicherung AG)