Healthy living

Prevent mosquito bites on holiday overseas

In some overseas countries, mosquitoes can transmit serious and potentially fatal diseases such as dengue, malaria, chikungunya, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis. These are known as mosquito-borne diseases.

Protect yourself against mosquitoes

Anti-malarial drugs, yellow fever and Japanese encephalitis vaccination are only partially effective and do not protect you against other diseases transmitted by mosquitoes. Whilst it is important to seek advice on if these preventative measures are right for you, the best protection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. 

It is important to visit your GP at least 6 weeks prior to traveling overseas to determine any health risks associated with your destination. In some cases, it may be necessary to get vaccinated or start taking preventative medication before you leave.

Find out more about how you can avoid getting bitten by mosquitoes.

Plan. Prepare. Pack.

Before you travel overseas:

  • visit your travel GP at least 6 weeks before you leave
  • research your holiday destination and know the health risks
  • pack long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing
  • pack a chemical-based insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), also known as PMD
  • pack a mosquito net
  • consider travel insurance.

Preventing mosquito bites is the first line of defence against mosquito-borne diseases. Many types of mosquitoes are most commonly active outdoors and between dusk and dawn. However, some mosquito species that transmit disease will bite indoors and during the day.

Prevent mosquito bites while travelling overseas by:

  • avoiding areas of high mosquito activity
  • wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing
  • applying a chemical-based insect repellent containing DEET, picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (OLE), also known as PMD 
  • sleeping under a bed net, preferably one that has been treated with an insecticide
  • closing all doors and windows if they do not have insect screens
  • requesting hotel rooms be sprayed for mosquitoes if you notice them.

Common mosquito-borne diseases

See below for more specific information on the most common diseases transmitted by mosquitoes when travelling overseas.

Where to get help

  • Visit a health professional if you become sick whilst overseas.
  • If you become ill on your return to Australia, see your doctor immediately and advise them of your recent travel history.
  • Ring healthdirect on 1800 022 222.


Environmental Health


Fight the Bite is an initiative of the Government of South Australia.
This web content has been reproduced and adapted with permission from SA Health.

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

Fight the bite: protect yourself against disease-carrying mosquitoes. Cover up. Repel. Clean up.