Tourists in Greece warned of mosquitoes with West Nile virus

Tourists in Greece warned of mosquitoes with West Nile virus

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West Nile virus in Greece

The Greek Ministry of Health warns holidaymakers about mosquitoes that can transmit the West Nile virus. The virus can make you very sick and in some cases can even be fatal. Last year 316 people were infected in Greece, 50 people died from this. Take appropriate precautions against the (infected) mosquito.

Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus)

West Nile virus

West Nile virus is a virus that causes West Nile disease. The disease is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, including the West European domestic mosquito and tiger mosquito. The disease mainly causes flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle ache, skin rashes and enlarged lymph nodes. In some cases the disease can lead to meningitis and can be fatal in worst cases.

Last year in Greece 316 people were infected, 50 people died from this. What are the chances the virus will strike again this year? Sander Koenraadt, assistant professor of entomology and mosquito expert at Wageningen University, explains to the NOS: “The development of the virus in such a mosquito depends on the weather and the temperature. The warmer it gets, the faster the virus develops in such a mosquito. The more mosquitoes there are, the greater the chances you will be stung”.

Especially people over 50 have a higher risk of the serious symptoms of this disease. The symptoms develop 3 to 14 days after the infection and unfortunately there is no effective treatment. There is also no vaccine against this virus. So, it’s important to take the right precautions.

West Nile virus in Europe

The mosquito that can transmit the virus also occurs in the UK, but there is little chance that this mosquito actually carries the virus here. In the UK, the average temperature in the summer is 11 degrees. The virus needs about 2 weeks to develop and it does this particularly at warm temperatures.

“We studied the development of West Nile virus in the laboratory. At 18 degrees hardly anything happens, but at 23 and 28 degrees it does. At higher temperatures several dozen percent of mosquitoes get infected,” Koenraadt explains.

The virus has already been detected in other parts of Europe. On the map you can see in which countries the West Nile virus has occurred in the past 9 years.

“The question is not whether the West Nile virus is coming our way, but when! I cannot emphasise enough that this is not a reason to (anxiously) stay indoors. You can take plenty of precautions to have fewer mosquitoes in your immediate environment and to prevent from getting bitten.”

Arnoud Aalbersberg

Care Plus

Protection

As there is no vaccine or effective treatment for the West Nile virus, it is important to take precautions. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to reduce the chance of a bite from an (infected) mosquito. Here are a few preventive tips:

 

Bitten by a mosquito? Unfortunately, there is no treatment for the disease. There are several measures that you can take to relieve the itch. With the Click-Away Bite Relief you can reduce itching and swelling within minutes. And with a soothing gel you can relieve pain and itching and cool irritated skin.

We always recommend consulting a doctor if symptoms of the virus occur.

Anti-Insect Natural

Based on natural lemon-eucalyptus extracts and does not contain DEET. Natural can be used on children from 3 months and protects against mosquitoes and ticks for up to 6 hours.

Mosquito Net

With a mosquito net you keep mosquitoes, insects and other bugs away so you can enjoy an undisturbed night’s sleep. While traveling and at home!

Anti-Insect DEET

DEET is an active substance that is most effective against (tropical) mosquitoes and ticks. Apply it to uncovered skin. The percentage determines the duration of action.

DEET deters mosquitoes in three ways

DEET deters mosquitoes in three ways

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DEET deters mosquitoes in three ways

It is a known fact that the smell and taste of DEET deter mosquitoes. DEET has been the most effective insect repellent for decades. But there is a third way that contributes to the protection against mosquitoes. Recent research by a team of American researchers shows that contact with DEET is also experienced as unpleasant by mosquitoes.

Yellow fever mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti) prefer not to land on skin rubbed with DEET. This is written by researchers led by Leslie Vosshall of The Rockefeller University in New York in Current Biology magazine this week.

DEET is a yellowish oily substance that does not evaporate very quickly. This ensures that the layer applied remains effective longer, but the mosquito-repelling effect of the odour is limited. DEET only repels insects when they are close. This is further proof that products such as DEET-impregnated bracelets do not work, other than that the mosquito will not land on the bracelet itself, but rather on the skin next to it. However, anyone who rubs DEET on exposed skin is protected against mosquito bites for hours.

“DEET may be the most researched remedy with by far the most evidence of its safety and excellent protection against mosquitos and ticks!”

Arnoud Aalbersberg

Care Plus

The bitter taste of DEET

Possibly mosquitoes taste the substance, which is described by humans as bitter. But it is not clear whether this bitter taste contributes to deterring biting mosquitoes.

In the new study, Vosshall and her colleagues demonstrate with a series of tests that the mosquito’s legs are sensitive to DEET. A volunteer applied DEET and put on a long glove with an opening of one and a half millimetres in which the mosquito could stick its snout. In this way, only the mouthparts of the mosquito came into contact with the DEET, but its legs remained on the latex of the glove. In this way, mosquitoes were not deterred by the DEET and stung as often as test mosquitoes on untreated skin.

That is why the researchers decided to apply a layer of quick-drying glue to the legs in a subsequent trial. In earlier research on fruit flies, this was also done to investigate whether these flies can detect with their legs whether they are walking on food. In the case of mosquitoes, all six legs were covered with quick-drying glue. It turned out that they were no longer sensitive to DEET on the skin.
DEET effectively repels mosquitoes in any way. But Vosshall hopes that this insight can lead to the development of new insect repellents, which use the sensitive mosquito legs.

“It’s especially interesting because we’ve known this remedy for a long time, about seventy years”, says Bart Knols. He did not participate in the research, but is an entomologist at Radboud University and wrote the book ‘Mug’ (Mosquito). Every year, some 200 million people use DEET as protection against mosquitoes.

“We just knew all along that it worked, but we didn’t know how.” Knols calls the research ‘a first step in the unravelling of the functioning of DEET’. “And if we continue in a positive way, this research might help us to find new drugs that also work well against mosquitoes.

Anti-Insect Natural

Made with natural lemon eucalyptus extracts and does not contain DEET. Natural can be used for children from 3 months and protects up to 6 hours against mosquitoes and ticks.

Mosquito Net

A mosquito net keeps mosquitoes, insects and other pests at a distance, so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Both at home and away!

Anti-Insect DEET

The active ingredient DEET is the most effective remedy for protection against (tropical) mosquitoes and ticks. Apply to exposed skin. The percentage is decisive for the duration of action.

Awareness for World Malaria Day 25 April

Awareness for World Malaria Day 25 April

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World Malaria Day

Thursday 25 April is World Malaria Day. On this day we want to raise awareness of this deadly disease that affects more than 214 million people annually. Still, more than 430,000 die of malaria, and most of the victims are children. The disease claims around 288,660 children’s lives under 5. This has to stop! Care Plus®  is committed to a malaria-free world by 2030. Will you help?

What is malaria?

Malaria is a severe infectious disease, caused by the sting of an infected mosquito. There are four forms of malaria. The most dangerous form is malaria tropica and without treatment, it can be fatal within a few weeks. Here are a few malaria facts:

• Every 60 seconds a child dies of malaria.
• 430.000 malaria deaths every year.
• Occurs in (sub) tropical regions, mainly in African countries.
• In a few regions, the malaria mosquito has become resistant to malaria remedies/medication.
• Occurs in 109 countries.
• No vaccine available, preventative medication is available.

Up to now, we have known malaria as the ‘imported’ disease in the Netherlands, due to travel between the Netherlands and (sub) tropical regions. The native mosquito would not survive in our weather conditions. However, due to climate changes in Europe, it’s becoming easier for the mosquito to survive and transmit diseases. The mosquito has a good chance of survival in areas around the Mediterranean Sea. Read here for more information on infectious diseases by mosquitoes in Europe.

Well-protected when travelling

Are you travelling to a country where malaria occurs? Make sure you are protected! The risk of contracting malaria can be reduced by taking malaria pills. Also, wearing clothes that cover the skin and using mosquito nets and Anti-Insect are good ways to reduce the risk of infection.

There is currently no effective vaccine available for malaria. You can get preventive pills on prescription from your doctor when you are travelling to a malaria region. There are currently three different types of pills available, each with their own active ingredient. However, the pills are a mere preventive measure and there is still a chance you may contract malaria. Thanks to the medication, it will take longer before harmful complications occur, giving you more time to start treatment.

The type of pills your GP will prescribe depends on:

  • What malaria region you are travelling to.
  • The duration of your stay.
  • Your health condition.
  • Any other medication you are using.

Do you want more information or make an appointment? We refer you to the NPHI.

Extensive study with first vaccine

Research and developments in a malaria vaccine are ongoing. Last Tuesday, some doctors started an extensive study in Malawi in which children must be protected from the deadly mosquito. 120,000 children aged 2 and below were vaccinated with this new vaccine. The study will continue until 2023 and comparable campaigns will be launched in the coming weeks in Ghana and Kenia.

(source: nu.nl)

 

Malaria-free world by 2030

At Care Plus® we think it’s important to give travellers peace of mind with our products. Our social responsibility does extend beyond that. We are committed to a malaria-free world by 2030. Since 1992, our organization has been committed to the concept of travel and health.

We donate 1% of our annual turnover to projects that focus on ridding the world of malaria. By buying a Care Plus® product, you really do contribute to a malaria-free world!

Care Plus® supports groundbreaking scientific research of the Wageningen University Laboratory, which is aimed at finding a solution to keep the (malaria) mosquito away from humans. A study group led by Professor Takken developed attractants for mosquitoes. These attractants are used to lure mosquito populations away from African villages in order to catch them, so the risk of being bitten by a malaria mosquito is reduced to the point where malaria practically disappears.

In order to provide a solution for people travelling to malaria regions, we are interested in gaining experience in using portable mosquito traps. A beautiful innovative idea and a step closer to a malaria-free world by 2030!

 

How you can help?

You too can contribute to a malaria-free world in various ways! How? Very simple:

• We donate 1% of our annual turnover to projects with the aim to rid the world of malaria. By buying a Care Plus® product, you are contributing to a malaria-free world!

• Drive Against Malaria is entirely dependent on voluntary contributions. All donations are extremely important in order to make the missions possible. Support Drive Against Malaria and make a voluntary donation.

If you make a one-time or periodic donation as an approved ANBI organisation, this is deductible. This usually means that the tax authorities will ‘refund’ 42% or even 52% of the donation. The tax authorities have given our organisation an ‘ANBI’ status.

• We must say these words out loud: “Malaria Must Die”. By saying these three words, you are contributing to a malaria-free world. A large international campaign was launched, in collaboration with David Beckham, where your voice literally counts in the fight against malaria. Watch the video below and let your voice be heard www.malariamustdie.com.

Anti-Insect Natural

Made with natural lemon eucalyptus extracts and does not contain DEET. Natural can be used for children from 3 months and protects up to 6 hours against mosquitoes and ticks.

Mosquito Net

A mosquito net keeps mosquitoes, insects and other pests at a distance, so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Both at home and away!

Anti-Insect DEET

The active ingredient DEET is the most effective remedy for protection against (tropical) mosquitoes and ticks. Apply to exposed skin. The percentage is decisive for the duration of action.

Mosquito plague imminent due to the warm weather!

Mosquito plague imminent due to the warm weather!

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Mosquito plague is imminent

Although most of us look forward to the predicted summer temperatures, the rising temperatures of the last few days are already causing increased growth of the mosquito population. According to Mosquito Radar, the mosquito nuisance will further increase in the coming days. Time to take the necessary precautions! Look below for all tips and tricks for a good night’s sleep without buzzing and itchy mosquito bites!

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure. This also applies to mosquitoes. Fortunately, you can take the necessary measures to reduce the risk of mosquito bites. It is always a good idea to check the room for mosquitoes before you go to sleep and to place insect screens on window and door frames. Another 5 preventative tips below:

  • Wear light coloured, finely woven clothing.
  • Wear covering-clothing with long legs and sleeves.
  • Remove/avoid places with stagnant water.
  • Sleep under a good quality mosquito net.
  • Apply Anti-Insect DEET or Anti-Insect Natural to exposed skin.

 

Treatment

Have you been bitten by a mosquito after all? Fortunately, there are several things you can do to reduce the itching. You can easily extract the venom with the Venimex venom extractor, which will significantly reduce swelling and itching. Click-Away Bite Relief reduces the itching and swelling within several minutes. A calming gel can reduce pain and itching and cool and soothe the skin.

 

Climate change causes infectious diseases by mosquitoes in Europe

Tropical infectious diseases transmitted by mosquitoes occur more frequently in Europe due to climate change. Scientists have warned against this at a European congress about infectious diseases (ECCMID) in Amsterdam. It concerns diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and leishmaniasis.

Until recently, these diseases only occurred as imported diseases that travellers brought with them from (sub)tropical regions. Because of longer periods of warm weather, mild winters and a significant amount of rain, these mosquitoes can be found increasingly closer to home.

The tiger mosquito, the mosquito in question, thrives especially well around the Mediterranean. The tiger mosquito can be found in Italy and Spain, but also in parts of southern Germany and Switzerland. The tiger mosquito is occasionally found in the Netherlands, usually in imported second-hand car tyres or ‘lucky bamboo’. So, be warned when making a trip within Europe and always ensure necessary prevention.

This is how a mosquito bites

Would you like to know how such a tiny, annoying creature does it? Watch the video below!

Anti-Insect Natural

Made with natural lemon eucalyptus extracts and does not contain DEET. Natural can be used for children from 3 months and protects up to 6 hours against mosquitoes and ticks.

Mosquito Net

A mosquito net keeps mosquitoes, insects and other pests at bay, so you can enjoy a good night’s sleep. Both at home and away!

Anti-Insect DEET

The active ingredient DEET is the most effective remedy for protection against (tropical) mosquitoes and ticks. Apply to exposed skin. The percentage is decisive for the duration of action.

Tick season started early this year

Tick season started early this year

News

Tick season started early this year

The extremely mild winter days in our country have caused nature to be in a bit of a muddle. Hedgehogs are coming out of hibernation much too early, and ticks have free rein in forests and heathlands. 

This could be yet another year where a record number of tick bites are reported. Ticks thrive in the mild conditions of previous months – they become active as soon as the temperature rises above 5 to 10 degrees – and that is the reason why they have come out early this year and in greater numbers. A good reason to take the right preventative measures before going outdoors.

Care Plus® is committed to stop ticks every year at the start of each tick season: with information about ticks, how to prevent a tick bite and how to remove a tick. Ticks occur in the Netherlands more frequently nowadays and a bite can have unpleasant consequences. It is important to know what to look out for.

Ticks do not fall from trees, as many people think, but live predominantly in shrubs, grass and heathland, including gardens, golf courses and footpaths where you walk your dog.

A tick bite can be prevented by:

It is a good idea to check yourself and each other after having been outdoors. Ticks are small and easy to miss. Have you been bitten? Remove the tick as quickly as possible with tick pincers. Disinfect the area of the bite with some alcohol, and keep an eye on the affected area.

World Malaria Day on 25 April

World Malaria Day on 25 April

News

25 April is World Malaria Day. At Tropicare we believe it is important to give you peace of mind while travelling with our Care Plus® products. Our social responsibility goes one step further, and our mission is a malaria-free world in 2030. This ambitious vision fits our organisation perfectly. We have been committed to the concept of travel and health since 1992.

25 April is World Malaria Day. At Tropicare we believe it is important to give you peace of mind while travelling with our Care Plus® products. Our social responsibility goes one step further, and our mission is a malaria-free world in 2030. This ambitious vision fits our organisation perfectly. We have been committed to the concept of travel and health since 1992.

A proven track-record and a continuous stream of product innovations create a situation where customers (in 25 countries), suppliers and media are helping us reach our goal. With specific short, middle and long-term targets, we are working in a straight line towards our goal.

Sharing knowledge and product development are our priorities in achieving a malaria-free world by 2030. We are continually investing in great solutions to repel, prevent and lure mosquitoes.

 

Malaria facts

  • Severe infectious disease, caused by the stink of an infected mosquito.
  • The most dangerous form of Malaria Tropica can result in death within several weeks without treatment.
  • Every 60 seconds a child dies of malaria.
  • 1,000,000 malaria deaths annually.
  • Found in (sub) tropical locations. Native mosquitoes are now also found in Europe due to tourism, transport and world trade.
  • In a few areas, the parasite has become immune to malaria remedies/medicines.
  • Found in 109 countries.
  • No vaccin is available.

Repelling mosquitoes

Repelling mosquitoes is usually a matter of common sense. A few simple tips will help you on your way. Do not use insect repellent as a first resort, instead, critically look at your environment. Flowerpots filled with water and blocked drains are the ideal habitat for mosquitoes. We recommend turning the pots upside down and unblocking the drains: free, simple and very effective. The malaria mosquito tends to bite after sundown. By installing insect screens in window and door frames and closing these after sundown, you will guarantee a mosquito-free (bed)room. While travelling, you can create an insect screen with our Bug Sheet. A well-functioning air conditioning system also helps to deter mosquitoes. We also advise covering your body with clothing as much as possible: long trousers, long sleeves, socks and closed shoes. Our clothing line is naturally insect repellent and sun resistant, so without impregnated textile. Better for the user, whose skin is in direct contact with the fabric, and better for the environment. We were the first ones on the market in 1997 with this innovative product.

 

Fighting mosquitoes

Sleeping under an impregnated mosquito net guarantees a safe and good night’s sleep. Our first mosquito nets were launched in 1997. Despite the minimal amount of impregnation, the nets are very effective for the protection against (malaria) mosquitoes, lice, bed mites and fleas. The requirements of travellers change all the time and technology is keeping up. We will launch a range of lightweight mosquito nets with durable impregnation this year, in accordance with applicable regulations concerning biocides within the European Union and beyond, and in accordance with WHO guidelines. The nets have been awarded by the ANWB professional jury. Due to the material-saving square mesh, our lightweight range is up to 50% lighter than regular nets.

Only after all this, we recommend using an insect repellent with DEET on exposed skin. Our Care Plus Anti-Insect DEET 50%, part of our range since 1994, provides up to 10 hours of protection against (malaria) mosquitoes. As an alternative, we offer Anti-Insect Natural without DEET made with natural lemon eucalyptus extracts. Natural, with 30% Citriodiol®, provides up to 6 hours of protection.

 

Luring mosquitoes

Tropicare supports pioneering scientific research of the Wageningen University Laboratory, in search of a solution to keep the (malaria) mosquito away from people. A study group led by Professor Takken has developed substances that attract mosquitoes. These attractants are used to lure mosquito populations away from African villages and catch them, so that the risk of a malaria mosquito’s bite is reduced to such an extent that malaria disappears.

We donated 28 mosquito traps, the MMX Counterflow Mosquito traps, in 2012. The traps are important to gain information on malaria mosquitoes in and around the house. Based on this information, new control techniques can be used. A field study is being carried out on the Kenyan Rusinga Island. Last year, Arnoud Aalbersgerg, founder and CEO of Tropicare, visited the project. The results of the field study are promising. The mosquito traps bring down the mosquito populations in the huts, and the traps’ battery and solar panel provide an additional advantage. They provide electricity for lighting and charging facilities for mobile phones (because everyone has one!).

In order to be able to offer travellers a solution, we are interested in gaining experience with a portable mosquito trap. Another wonderful innovative effort for Care Plus and a step closer to a malaria-free world by 2030!

5 facts about the zika virus

5 facts about the zika virus

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Zika virus

In our 25 years in this sector, we have never encountered an infectious disease that has caught the media’s attention and caused global concern as much as the zika virus.  Understandably, as the health risks are substantial. We answer five of the most frequently asked questions we receive about this virus. 

  1. What exactly is the zika virus?
  2. Where does zika occur?
  3. What does this mean for travellers?
  4. How can I protect myself from the zika virus?
  5. Why is it a pandemic now, when zika has been around for over 60 years?

 

What exactly is the zika virus ?

Zika is a virus. Zika is related to dengue and chikungunya. One in four people who contract zika will experience symptoms. Symptoms occur within 2-7 days after the bite/infection and last a couple of days. The best-known symptoms are light fever, headache, skin rash, joint pain and conjunctivitis. Zika can lead to Guillain-Barré syndrome or microcephaly in babies. There is no vaccine available. The zika virus is transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes genus. These mosquitoes are found in urban areas and unlike the malaria mosquitoes, they are mainly active during the day. Pregnant women run the same risk of contracting the disease as the rest of the population.

Anti-Insect Natural

Care Plus® Anti-Insect Natural is made with natural lemon eucalyptus extracts. Its effectivity has been proven in scientific field studies.

Care Plus® Natural Spray, 60 ml. 6-hour natural protection against mosquitoes.

Anti- Insect with DEET

Care Plus® Anti-Insect DEET 20% is made with natural lemon eucalyptus. This is the only natural ingredient suitable to use as an insect repellent. Its effectivity has been proven in scientific field studies.

Care Plus® Anti-Insect DEET 20%, 80 ml. 6-hour protection against mosquitoes.

Mosquito nets

Care Plus® Anti-Insect Deet gel 30% is the strongest insect repellent for the skin. Suitable for tropical destinations (risk of malaria, dengue, yellow fever) and Europe and city trips.

Care Plus® Anti-Insect DEET 30%, 100 ml. 8-hour protection against mosquitoes.

Where does zika occur?

Zika occurs in (source WHO, 29 January 2016) Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guyana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Sint Maarten, Suriname, the American Virgin Islands, Venezuela. This map shows where zika occurs.

What does it mean for travellers?

We advise travellers to obtain information regarding whether their intended destination is a zika risk area. Check this before finalising your travel plans. Make a well-informed decision to continue your travel plans. Especially pregnant women should consider not going or postponing their trip. Are you going to a zika risk area? Take the right precautions needed to stay healthy!

 

How can I protect myself from zika?

Simple. No mosquito bites, no zika. Mosquitoes that bite during the day can transmit the zika virus, Our advice is:

  • Drain stagnant water. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in it. You do not want these eggs to hatch, this will only increase the number of mosquitoes.
  • Wear insect-repellent clothing (impregnated with permethrin) and socks.
  • Apply high-quality insect repellents with DEET, picaridin or citriodiol (lemon eucalyptus) to exposed skin.
  • Sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.

 

Why is it a pandemic now, while zika has been around for 60 years?

The zika virus is the next in line gaining ground, after the West Nile virus in the ’90s and dengue and chikungunya in more recent years. This mosquito species (Aedes) is an important transmitter of these diseases. Travellers play a role in expanding the geographical area, as are secondhand (car) tyres and lucky bamboo. Zika will certainly not be the last infectious disease we see encroach and spread. Changing our behaviour is necessary in order to control the mosquito population, or even better; to reduce it. And better personal protection from mosquitoes must be promoted.

Panicking won’t help, common sense will. Contribute to the latter.

Tanning in a safe way

Tanning in a safe way

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Enjoy the sun safely

Sunlight is good for us and most of us like to have a nice tan. Unfortunately, sunlight is not without risk as the skin burns quickly. Exposing the skin to (direct) sunlight for too long and too much will cause skin damage. With Care Plus® sun protection, you can prevent UV-A rays from ageing the skin and UV-B rays from causing a nasty sunburn.

Prevent sleepless nights, painful skin and potentially lasting damage. The range also includes sun protection for children and sensitive skin and sun protective clothing.

Clean drinking water

Clean drinking water

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Clean drinking water when travelling

In many countries, drinking water is often less reliable than you are used to at home. Contaminated water can contain protozoa (single-celled organisms), bacteria and viruses. For drinking water contaminated with microorganisms, one harmful organism can already pose a health risk. For example, infectious diseases of particularly the gastrointestinal tract, such as diarrhoea, typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A.

When purifying water, it is important to deactivate protozoa, bacteria and viruses. Boiling water is an easy and effective method. However, this is time-consuming and not always possible. Deactivating protozoa and bacteria can be done with membrane 0.1-0.5 micron (pore diameter) filter. Deactivating bacteria and viruses can be done with the chemical treatment of sodium hypochlorite, such as drinking water disinfectant Hadex®. The Hadex® chlorine solution does not affect protozoa.