When Rory McIlroy opted out of the Rio Olympics over fears of the mosquito-borne virus, Zika, which has links to brain defects in newborn babies, he shone a light on the concerns of travellers in general.
Mosquitoes top the list of holiday hates for everyone but now according to new research, one in five are too scared to travel.
38% of people said that they would avoid travel to South America this summer due to the Zika Virus.
The research carried out by new insect repellent, Moskito Guard®, shows that nearly two in five people (38 per cent) said that they would avoid travel to South America this summer due to the Zika Virus. One in twenty (six per cent) said they would avoid travelling to Europe. This comes at a time when the World Health Organization announces that Zika is due to spread to Europe this summer.
One in five British adults (21 per cent) do not feel well-informed about the Zika Virus and are concerned about travelling abroad this summer.
The research reveals that British holiday-makers love to holiday and enjoy the great outdoors. More than two in five say they love long evenings (40 per cent) and eating ‘al fresco’ (41 per cent) when abroad. One in three (33 per cent) love to spend time at the pool.
However, insect bites (48 per cent) and mosquitoes (47 per cent) top the list of frustrations when travelling overseas in the summer.
84% of people don’t know that mosquitoes are more attracted to darker clothing.
The Moskito Guard® research reveals that the British public are confused between mosquito fact and fiction, which is potentially reducing their ability to protect themselves against bites:
- 84 per cent of people don’t know that mosquitoes are more attracted to darker clothing
- 45 per cent of people do not realise that mosquitoes are attracted by certain body odours
- 15 per cent think that mosquitoes only bite at night
Pharmacist and Valneva travel health expert, Derek Evans (MRPharmS) is Vice Chairman of the Pharmacist Professional Group of International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM). He says, “This research underlines the fact that the British public are not at all clear about the behaviour of different species of mosquito, where they can be found and, most importantly, the times of day when they might be more at risk of being bitten.
Aedes mosquito, which carries the Zika Virus, is active during the day, when people are more likely to be in swimming costumes or shorts.
“The malarial mosquito, Anopheles, is a night-time feeder but the Aedes mosquito, which carries Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever, Chikungunya and the Zika Virus, is active during the day. This is when people are more likely to be in swimming costumes or shorts, without the protection of the long-sleeved clothing or mosquito nets that we use at night. When travelling abroad in regions where the Aedes species is found, the application of an effective insect repellent during the day is as important as sun screen, especially a water-resistant repellent that is not washed off by sweat.
“Closer to home, while UK mosquitoes don’t carry dangerous infectious diseases, their bites can cause very unpleasant skin infections or irritations, especially for young children. Using a proven, effective insect repellent is one of the best forms of protection.
“Holidays are supposed to be relaxing and enjoyable, so anyone who is worried about mosquitoes when travelling abroad this summer should seek accurate advice from a travel health service provider to give them peace of mind.” he added.
New mosquito repellent offers protection
The release of the research findings coincides with the UK launch of Moskito Guard®, Valneva’s new DEET-free insect repellent which helps provide protection against mosquitoes and other biting insects both in the UK and abroad.
Scientifically proven to work as effectively as the recommended concentration of DEET, Moskito Guard® provides up to eight hours protection in one application. Unlike many other DEET based repellents, Moskito Guard® is also water resistant and suitable for use by pregnant women and children over 24 months old.
Moskito Guard® contains 20% Picaridin (also known as Icaridin or Saltidin®), which is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), Public Health England and NaTHNaC Travel Health Prov as an equally effective and often superior alternative to DEET when used at recommended concentrations.
However, Picaridin is less likely to cause skin irritations and has a more pleasant fragrance than DEET based repellents.
Read also: How to prevent malaria while travelling
Disclaimer: this article was sponsored by Moskito Guard