Avoid mozzie-borne illnesses when travelling overseas

Media release

29 June 2016

In some countries an annoying itch is the least of your worries if you’re bitten by a mosquito.

New Zealanders planning on leaving winter behind in favour of a sun drenched holiday overseas are being urged to be aware of the health risks they may encounter.

Bugs like mosquitoes can transmit a range of serious diseases, including malaria, dengue, yellow fever and Zika virus.

The Ministry of Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Andrew Simpson, says, “While mosquitoes in New Zealand don’t carry diseases, in other countries they can pass on serious illnesses.

“It’s a good idea when you’re planning a trip overseas to find out about the potential health risks in the country you’re visiting.”

Up-to-date travel advice is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade SafeTravel website (safetravel.govt.nz). Tips on how to avoid bug bites, and the latest information on diseases such as Zika, can be found on the Ministry of Health website.

Dr Simpson says, “Simple measures such as wearing a mosquito repellent cream or spray, and wearing protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats, can help you to avoid picking up a serious illness.

“It’s also worth talking to your doctor in advance to find out whether any special vaccinations are required, and to check that you and any family members travelling with you are up to date with routine vaccinations, including measles.”

Anyone who becomes unwell within three weeks of returning from travel overseas should call their doctor or Healthline on 0800 611 116, and say where they have travelled.

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