Dengue fever is a disease carried by mosquitoes in warmer parts of the world, including Africa, Central and South America (the Caribbean), Australia, India, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. It affects millions of people every year with tropical countries being the most affected.
This species of mosquito can also transmit yellow fever, chikungunya fever, and the Zika virus (the same family of viruses.) People who have contracted the virus experience flu-like symptoms which may be mild or non-existent. However on rare occasions others develop severe symptoms and need hospitalisation and may go on to develop hemorrhagic fever which potentially can be fatal.
Children and young adults, who have a more reactive immune system, are more likely to get severe dengue compared with older people.
Severe dengue only occurs with a second attack from a different strain of dengue virus to the previous one. It mainly affects children with 90% of severe dengue cases occurring in children under 15 yrs old. Severe dengue is a life-threatening infection. Around 1% of patients with dengue die with hospital treatment and 5%+ die if not treated. (In recent years the number of deaths in young adults has increased.)
The mosquito can be identified by its stripy mottled appearance. It is active during early morning or late afternoon, so night-time mosquito nets give insufficient protection.
We know that immunity to one strain of dengue makes infection with another strain of dengue more severe, and potentially dangerous. The concern with dengue vaccine is that, by making you immune to one strain of dengue, infection with other strains is more likely and dangerous.
The current vaccine prevents about 2/3 of cases of severe dengue, and more effective in preventing second attacks in children who have already had one attack. It is available to people from 9-45 yrs old who live and/or work in dengue-affected areas. It is licensed in Indonesia, the Philippines, Mexico, Brazil, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Paraguay.
We strongly advise avoiding travel to areas where there is a dengue outbreak if you have a choice. Check on the Fitfortravel NHS website for more information or with Embassies or Consulates to find out if they have up-to-date information of an outbreak of dengue. Outbreaks are frequent, and often happen in seasonal patterns.
Insect repellents, particularly those containing N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET), will reduce the number of mosquito bites and therefore the chance of catching dengue.
Permethrin sprayed onto your clothing will repel some mosquitoes. In the main you should wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers and clothes that cover exposed skin.
There a few vaccines against dengue fever under development and some have even been approved recently. However these are not available in the U.K.
Due to the nature of this disease, especially if you experienced any symptoms before, it is not recommended as it is the subsequent infection that causes the most severe reaction and problems.
It takes about 4 -10 days for the symptoms to develop after initial infection by the virus. The symptoms worsen in the first week, when early detection is critical.
In non-severe dengue the fever then resolves and the patient recovers. In dengue with warning signs another 'phase' of the disease develops.
Signs to watch for in severe infection develop after 3-7 days into the illness. The temperature often falls but you may have:
Early detection increases your chances of recovery.
Prevention is the best way to protect against mosquito bites. Sprays containing DEET can be bought over the counter from chemists and preparations that can be sprayed onto your clothes will help.
It is important to speak with the doctor at least a couple of months before your trip as updates and changes do happen periodically. Also the requirements depend on your length of stay, any pre-existing health conditions and your health generally. Discussing this with our doctor will ensure that you are adequately covered and receive the necessary up-to-date vaccines and medicines for your protection.
Our clinic can help you get the right and recommended vaccines at affordable prices. (See our prices and fees page for more information.) Our vaccines are consistently updated depending on the current requirements.
You can feel confident that you are in safe hands. We work side by side with the health authorities to make sure we provide you with all the vaccines you need for safe travel.
Our clinic is registered and certified to administer Yellow Fever vaccines and will provide you with the necessary documentation for entry into certain countries that insist on it. At present there is no licensed vaccination for Dengue fever in the U.K.
If you following the correct advice and appropriate health cover to remote areas, your visit will be an uneventful and enjoyable one.
Our website provides the latest information on vaccine requirement and additional medications for the rest of the world. Check out the rest of the pages on this site to learn about the vaccines needed and additional medicines required for destinations abroad and to other areas. An excellent website we recommend is the Fitfortravel NHS website where you can get the latest and the most comprehensive information to keep you safe.
All information has been licensed under the Open Government Licence. http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/doc/open-government-licence/version/3/