Many people think every mosquitoes bites in Raja Ampat and Papua can potentially cause Malaria. The truth is a lot more complicated. Here is how it works; The Malaria parasite spread to humans by the bite of infected female anopheles species mosquitoes. If bitten by an infected mosquitoes, the parasites multiply in the bloodstream of the infected person. The parasite may be transferred by another mosquito when it bites an infected person. The mosquito is then infected and can infect other humans when it bites them.
Because of this, it’s easier to get infected in the populated area such as the city of Sorong but a very small risk to be infected by Malaria in Raja Ampat due to its remoteness.
Malaria is an entirely preventable disease. To help you stay safe during your time in Raja Ampat, here is a list of 4 tips most effective way to prevent Malaria.
Mosquito nets – The best way to keep you safe from mosquitoes at night is to use mosquito nets over your beds. We provide mosquito nets in all our bungalows whether you use it or not. Not only does it ensure 100% protection but is also a chemical-free way to keep mosquitoes at bay.
Avoid dark clothing – Mosquitoes attracted to dark clothing. Bring loose long sleeves/leg clothes. Don’t wear black.
Mosquito active hours – Female anopheles active work hours between 6:30 AM – 6:00 PM. These are the time where they lay annoying violin buzzing in the ear and won’t leave you alone. During the day time, its best to put on light clothing preferably long pants and long sleeve shirts. Long sleeve shirts and pants is also effective in protecting skin from sunburn.
If you are in diving or snorkeling activity, you can choose to use insect repellent. Any mosquito repellant with active ingredients DEET 20% or more is highly effective. In Raja Ampat, you can buy insect repellant in small sachet brand Autan sold in every village.
If you are using sunscreen (preferably reef-safe sunscreen), it should be applied first and the insect repellent second. The repellent will not work if you cover it with a thick layer of sunscreen. Alternatively, use a sunscreen that contains a repellent.
Anti Malarial medication –You probably don’t need this. Gam island area have not had Malaria cases for years. But if you feel you need it, its best to consult with doctor or pharmacy. We highly discourage the use of Lariam as it may cause adverse reaction.
It is really unlikely that you will contract Malaria if you follow all our top three advices. If you feel sick at any point up to 3 weeks after returning home. It is really important to diagnose and treat it as quickly as possible.
Have no fear. Malaria is easily preventable. Thousands of people have return from Raja Ampat safely and don’t contract Malaria. So don’t be too afraid and enjoy your dive trip!