26 Nov 2019

Worldwide Dengue reminder

Dengue is a mosquito spread virus commonly found in urban and semi-urban tropical areas of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Pacific Islands Worldwide Dengue reminder

Dengue is a mosquito spread virus commonly found in urban and semi-urban tropical areas of Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America and the Pacific Islands [1]. Risk is year-round in the tropics. Seasonal cases are reported in parts of Europe and the US [2].

Worldwide dengue rates have grown dramatically in recent decades, with approximately half the world's population now considered to be at risk [1]. 

Dengue cases are sometimes reported in returning travellers, with most cases in UK residents occurring in returning visitors from Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean [3].

Most people infected with dengue remain symptom-free. If symptoms occur, they usually start abruptly and include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. They usually occur within four to 10 days of being bitten. Most infections are self-limiting, with recovery three to four days after the rash appears. A small number of people develop more severe illness, which if left untreated can be fatal [1]. 

Advice for travellers

See our Country Information pages “Other risks” section for individual country recommendations to check the dengue risk at your destination. 

All travellers to areas reporting dengue cases or where dengue is believed to occur are at risk of dengue infection. 

Avoidance of infection is through bite avoidance measures by following insect bite precautions. As dengue is spread by day-biting mosquitoes, particular care with bite avoidance is advised during the day, especially around dawn and dusk. 

There is no specific treatment for dengue and there is no vaccine available for travellers.

Advice for health professionals

Health professionals should consider the possibility of dengue in a returning UK traveller presenting with a fever or flu-like illness who has recently visited a dengue risk region.

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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