There are reports on Fitfortravel the NHS travel website of a malaria outbreak on the Pacific coast of Cauca Province, Colombia, South Ameria. The outbreak has affected 322 people in the rural areas of Guapi and Timbiqui: the towns of Calle Larga, Belen, San Agustin, Pascualero, and Cascajero (in Guapi) and in the mining area of Santa Maria, Chacon Playa, and Coteje (in Timbiqui).

The outbreak area is classified as low to no risk for malaria on the Colombia malaria map. Mosquito bite avoidance remains the mainstay of prevention and antimalarials are not required for most travellers to this region. However, antimalarials may be considered for certain higher risk groups of travellers including longer stays in rural areas, visiting friends or relatives, those with medical conditions, immunosuppression or those without a spleen.

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Bite avoidance strategies include;

  • Covering up skin as much as possible, especially if going out at night, wear loose fitting clothes, long sleeves, trousers or long skirts.
  • Use insect repellents on exposed skin. Picardan 20% or DEET 50% products are the most effective.
  • If using sunscreen always apply first, followed by an insect repellent spray on top.
  • If room is not air conditioned, but is screened, close shutters early evening and spray room with knockdown insecticide spray.
  • Electric insecticide vaporisers are very effective as long as there are no power failures!

There is no scientific evidence that electric buzzers, savoury yeast extract, tea tree oil, bath oils, garlic and vitamin B are effective.