Where is Dengue found?
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Dengue is widespread throughout tropical regions, in countries in Africa, South America, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western pacific. More than one-third of the world’s population live in areas at risk of Dengue. In Europe, transmission was first detected in France and Croatia in 2010 and has been reported in 10 countries since.
How is Dengue transmitted?
The Aedes mosquito also transmits chikungunya, yellow fever and Zika virus. Once infected, humans can act as reservoirs and may transmit the virus to uninfected mosquitos for around 4-5 days after becoming symptomatic. The mosquito is mainly found in urban areas and uses man-made containers for breeding.
What is Dengue?
Dengue fever is a disease caused by any of the four dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3 or DENV 4). The main symptoms are flu-like in nature , including fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, nausea, vomiting, rash, abdominal pain, muscle and bone pains. Dengue haemorrhagic fever is a more severe form of disease. This rare form of dengue primarily involves abnormalities in the blood and its clotting mechanism, resulting in bruising, nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums and blood in the vomit, stools or urine. The abdomen may also become swollen as the virus affects the ability of the blood vessels to contain fluid.
How is Dengue treated?
There is no specific treatment for Dengue, so individuals are usually provided with supportive therapy such as fluids and pain relief. In the case of severe Dengue or Dengue haemorrhagic fever, hospital admission is likely to be necessary. IV fluids and blood transfusions may be necessary in the most severe cases.
How can I protect myself?
The is no globally available preventative vaccine for Dengue virus, though as recently as early 2016, a vaccine has been licenced for use in several countries where Dengue represents a significant burden of disease.
This means that mosquito bite avoidance is extremely important. The World Health Organisation recommends that you take steps such as covering up with trousers and long sleeved shirts to prevent exposure to bites, use air conditioning and window/door screens to reduce risk of mosquitos coming indoors. Application of mosquito repellent containing 20-30% DEET on skin and clothes may also decrease the risk of being bitten. Though overall risk to foreign travellers is fairly small, this may become much more significant in areas where an epidemic is currently in progress. Exposure to one version of the Dengue virus offers immunity only against that type. Repeated exposures to all 4 types offers lifelong immunity.
Use this interactive map to search for your destination of travel and find out risk of Dengue fever. http://www.healthmap.org/dengue/en/