Mosquito-borne illnesses in travelers: a review of risk and prevention

Pharmacotherapy. 2010 Oct;30(10):1031-43. doi: 10.1592/phco.30.10.1031.


In 2008, residents of the United States made 12 million visits to developing countries in Asia, South America, Central America, Oceania, the Middle East, and Africa. Due to the presence of Anopheles, Aedes, and Culex mosquitoes, travel to these destinations poses a risk for diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, and Japanese encephalitis that cause significant morbidity and mortality. To gain a better understanding of the major emerging and established travel-related infectious diseases transmitted principally by mosquitoes and the measures for their prevention in U.S. residents who travel to these developing countries, we performed a literature search of the PubMed and MEDLINE databases (January 1950-February 2010). Information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization and relevant references from the publications identified were also reviewed. Vaccines for the prevention of Japanese encephalitis and yellow fever are commercially available to U.S. travelers and should be administered when indicated. However, the prevention of malaria, dengue fever, chikungunya, and West Nile virus relies on personal insect protection measures and chemoprophylaxis for malaria. As the rate of international travel continues to rise, individuals traveling overseas should be made aware of the risk of various infectious diseases and the importance of prevention. Physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other practitioners can play a vital role in disease education and prevention, including the administration of vaccines and provision of chemoprophylactic drugs.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemoprevention*
  • Communicable Disease Control*
  • Communicable Diseases / drug therapy
  • Communicable Diseases / metabolism
  • Culicidae*
  • Developing Countries
  • Disease Vectors*
  • Humans
  • Population Surveillance*
  • Risk
  • Travel*
  • Vaccines / therapeutic use


  • Vaccines