One of the most frequently asked questions we get from guests considering or preparing for a trip to Belize is “What about the mosquitoes?” Out on our island we are somewhat isolated from the typical medical risks of the tropics. Everyone should be vaccinated within the past five years for tetanus. You should also talk to your doctor about allergic reactions to marine life, and bring appropriate medications that your physician recommends.
Those who travel inland in the country Belize should consult a doctor about malaria, dengue fever, and hepatitis, and remember that a course of malaria medication needs to be started two weeks prior to departure. There is no threat of malaria, dengue fever, or hepatitis on our island.
We are not able to advise you beyond “ask your doctor” about the threat of malaria in the rainforest in Belize because the region of infected mosquitoes changes monthly.
Although present, cases of malaria in Belize are rare. The prevention drug for malaria in this area is the prescription drug Chloroquine. Most travel clinics and many Internet sites will recommend malaria protection for all parts of Belize, but mosquito control in larger metropolitan areas, such as in Belize central, has eliminated mosquito habitats close to human population settlements. Less dangerous than malaria, dengue fever can also be contracted from infected mosquitoes. There is no medication for dengue fever; it goes away by itself after about four days.
When you go to Belize, please don’t ask us to tell you whether to get protection for malaria, even doctors do not agree; it is a personal choice. Malaria pills are bad for you, but getting malaria is worse. The only true protection against both malaria and dengue fever is to not get bitten by a disease-infested mosquito. The best prevention for bites is to wear a bug repellent that contains at least 30% DEET. Here is one site on the Internet with information on malaria prevention is.