21 Feb 2019

Dengue outbreak in the Caribbean

An outbreak of dengue has been reported from Jamaica Dengue outbreak in the Caribbean

As of 17 January 2019 and following a recent report of increased cases of dengue in Jamaica in January 2019 [1], the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has advised that there is a possibility of an outbreak of dengue in the Caribbean region [2]. The last major regional outbreak occurred in 2009 [1]. Countries in the region have been advised to increase their disease surveillance measures. Residents and travellers are advised to take measures to reduce mosquito breeding sites and follow mosquito bite prevention advice.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. Although most patients with dengue will recover spontaneously, a small number will develop more severe life-threatening forms of the disease. Dengue is common in the tropics including the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, SE Asia, the Indian sub-continent and the Pacific Islands.

Check our Country Information pages for individual country recommendations.

Advice for travellers

Individuals travelling to the affected regions can reduce their risk of acquiring dengue by taking precautions to minimise mosquito bites. Particular vigilance with insect bite precautions should be taken around dawn and dusk, when the mosquitoes that transmit dengue are most active. There is no vaccine to prevent dengue available for travellers.

Advice for health professionals

Health professionals should be alert to the possibility of dengue in those who have recently returned from a dengue risk area presenting with a fever or flu-like illness.

Health professionals who suspect a case of dengue should send appropriate samples for testing (with full travel and clinical history) to the Public Health England, Rare and Imported Pathogens Laboratory.

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