What is Dengue Fever?
Dengue fever is the most common viral disease spread to humans by mosquitoes. It can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- Dengue fever is caused by any one of four types of dengue viruses.
Risk to Travellers
- All travellers are at risk if going to a destination where dengue occurs.
- Depends on your country of destination, duration of stay, time of year, what you do when you are travelling, and where you stay during your travels.
- Higher during the daytime (two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening). Mosquitoes bite at any time during the day, especially indoors, in shady areas, or when it is overcast.
- Risk is low for travellers who stay only a few days in air-conditioned hotels with well-kept grounds and who participate in outdoor activities during non-peak biting periods.
- Risk is increased for those spending longer periods of time in endemic areas, and who stay in the home of friends and relatives. Aid or humanitarian workers also at a higher risk
- Most people recover from dengue fever after a few days.
- In rare cases, dengue fever may progress to dengue haemorrhagic fever which may lead to shock and death.
- There is no vaccine for dengue fever.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites.
- There is no specific treatment for dengue fever but medical care can help with recovery.
- Most commonly take four to seven days to appear, after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
- Usually include flu-like symptoms such as high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, and a rash.
- It is common for some people to show no symptoms.
- In about 1% of cases, people with dengue fever develop dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF). Symptoms of DHF include fever, but also bleeding under the skin, severe abdominal pain and vomiting.
- DHF can lead to shock. With proper medical care, only 1% of cases will result in death.
- Dengue fever is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito, particularly Aedes aegpyti and Aedes albopictus.
- Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
- Dengue fever occurs in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world, predominantly in urban and semi-urban areas.
- It is widespread in regions of Central and South America; the Caribbean; South and Southeast Asia; Western, Eastern and Middle Africa; and Oceania.
- For up-to-date areas where dengue is a concern, please visit the latest Travel Health Notice on Dengue.
A map of the areas where dengue occurs is on the website of the World Health Organization.
Consult a doctor, nurse or health care provider, or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
It is recommended that you protect yourself from mosquito bites particularly two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening.
- Fact Sheet: Dengue and dengue haemorrhagic fever, World Health Organization (WHO)
- Statement on Dengue, Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel (CATMAT)
- Statement on Personal Protective Measures to Prevent Arthropod Bites, (CATMAT)
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