11 Nov 2022
By MedAire

As yachts prepare to make their way across to the Caribbean, MedAire is encouraging crews to pay particular attention to the risks of dengue, chikungunya, zika and other mosquito-borne diseases in order to prevent their transmission and spread.

This comes after, in August, International SOS, the world’s leading security and health services company, reported a 92% global increase in dengue-related cases, compared to last year.

Dr Irene Lai, Group Medical Director at International SOS, advises “Dengue is transmitted by mosquito bites. It is an increasing problem, with more cases, outbreaks becoming larger and more common, and the disease appearing in new areas. Whilst the reasons are complex, urbanisation and climate change may be contributing to the expanding global distribution and longer transmission seasons. Dengue, like most illnesses, causes a spectrum of disease – it can be very mild, while some people will experience strong headaches, high fever and rash. In the most severe cases, it can progress to bleeding and organ failure which can be fatal.”

Lai continues, “Not only is there an impact on infected individuals, outbreaks of dengue can impact healthcare systems when there is a surge in people requiring medical attention and hospitalisation. Everyone needs to be aware of, and practising, measures to prevent dengue infections and transmission, including yachts and organisations that are operating in dengue-affected areas.”

Dengue is now consistently present in over 100 countries across the planet and over the last 20 years, cases have risen more than eight fold.

Brent Palmer, Director of Education at MedAire says that “for superyacht captains and crew, the risks are most prevalent when the vessel is docked or less than 2km from shore, in areas that may lack vector-control or have seen high infection numbers. In such scenarios, best practice is to be involved in mosquito control and infection prevention measures to reduce community transmission”.

These measures may include promoting awareness of the signs and symptoms of these diseases among crew members, encouraging good practices for dengue prevention and establishing coordination with local communities to support mosquito control programmes.

Tips to Reduce the Risk of Mosquito-borne Diseases:

Prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of mosquitoes breeding:


  • When going ashore wear light coloured loose long sleeve shirts and trousers, some clothing can be treated with repellants. Pay particular attention to ankles wrists and neck (behind the ears) eat inside (if air-conditioning) or where there is a strong breeze.
  • Avoid areas where mosquitoes breed – anywhere with stagnant water such as drains and ponds
  • Take extra precautions if there is a storm due, as the drop in temperature may trigger more bites 
  • Keep mosquitoes out of your cabin or accommodation – close windows and doors.
  • Keep your cabin or accommodation free of mosquito breeding areas – containers and dishes that hold even a small amount of water can breed mosquitoes. Dishes under potted plants are notorious culprits.

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