Warning : This article only reflects my personal point of view after my stay in Pointe-Noire from January to July. I have no idea about the climate during the rest of the year (including the presence of Mosquitoes). Moreover, I have no medical skills, so this is in no way a medical advice : ask your doctor in any case !
Before leaving France, I have been told various stuffs about Congo, and in particular about what I should bring to protect myself from tropical diseases. Well, none of these advises were really useful. That’s why I thought I’d write an article about what you don’t need in Congo.
1. Meds against Malaria
I’ve heard various stories about Malaria in Congo. Some people say it’s easier to get sick because of it when going in the countryside, others say it’s easier to get sick when in the city, since mosquitoes may have bitten someone just a few hours ago. Unless you’re only travelling for a few days, I believe it’s not useful to take meds. I stopped taking them after two weeks, as most people working here do (I’m talking about expats). These meds are curative treatments, not preventing ones. I’ve heard they’re kinda aggressive towards your liver (Malarone). Also, they have quite a lot of side effects (apparently you can even have hallucinations because of them !). Of course there are various brands and types of treatments, so the best thing you can do is talk with your doctor.
2. Stuffs to protect from mosquitoes
There aren’t that many mosquitoes in Pointe-Noire. In my honest opinion, the probability that you get bitten by a malaria-bearing mosquito is very low. As I told earlier, I’m never taking meds nor using protections, and I haven’t been sick because of this disease in 6 months. You can open your windows (better close them before the sunset though, because mosquitoes are more present during the night) without any fear. Note that “sick mosquitoes” are supposed to be those living at night. Edit : Obviously there are some mosquitoes at night. The purpose of this article is only to curb the general alarmist comments you could find online. There’s definitely no reason to be afraid.
Obviously, you don’t really need a mosquito net either.
3. Stuffs to disinfect the vegetables and fruits
A big laugh at this. Com’on, maybe 90% of the fruits need to be peeled. The rest are either cooked or can be simply washed with clear water. I believe it’s efficient enough. I’m sure you’ve got more risk to get sick when travelling by train or subway at NYC or Paris than when eating one of these tomatoes you buy on the market.
Just make sure you’re cooking your meat enough if you buy it at the market, because obviously it’s not like in a French supermarket. However, you don’t need to be afraid of stuffs in general.
4. Long-sleeves clothes
What the hell ? Of course, if you’re planning to live next to a swamp it may be useful. And of course it may be better if you’re going into the jungle. Usual security. But you don’t need this in the streets. Even at night, unless you’re afraid/allergic/terrorized of/to/by mosquitoes
Edit : a note about malaria. I’ve been discussing with a doctor at the hospital here in Pointe-Noire, who had been doing a thesis about this disease. I’ve been explained that there are several types of malaria, and that the one present @ 99% in Pointe-Noire is the less dangerous one. You cannot get sick again and again, a few years later, if you’ve been infected once. I assume this should be confirmed, but I want to avoid situations like this : during the trip between the airport and the hotel, on my arrival, there was a mosquito in the car and I really got afraid of it. In other words : no need to be overly scared of these insects.