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Dengue fever (pronounced den' gee) is a mosquito-borne virus that affects more than 390 million people each year. While the disease is generally mild, it can be deadly.
Recent research conducted by public health organizations shows dengue is between 100 and 800 years old. The virus likely originated in Africa or Southeast Asia. It was then carried to other parts of the world through travel and trade.
In recent years, dengue fever has spread to over 100 countries. Now, travelers to popular destinations like Brazil and India could contract the disease.
The virus is also known as 'breakbone fever' due to the symptoms it causes. The origins of the name 'dengue' are unknown. But, the name is likely African or Spanish, based on how the disease spread.
Unlike other diseases, dengue has different symptoms depending on the stage it is in. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dengue's most common symptoms are:
Generally younger children and those experiencing their first dengue infection have milder symptoms. Note, it is possible to contract dengue more than once.
Sometimes, dengue fever can progress into the more dangerous dengue hemorrhagic fever or DHF. While simple dengue has generally 'flu-like' symptoms, DHF is more serious. Like dengue, this variant shows signs of high fever. But, once the fever subsides the following symptoms may be present:
If the infection continues, it can cause 'leaky' blood vessels, circulatory failure, shock and death.
To learn more about the signs and symptoms of dengue fever, contact a Passport Health Travel Specialist by calling or booking an appointment online.
If you are a clinician, consider viewing the World Health Organization (WHO) Dengue Guidelines available here.
Like it's viral cousins chikungunya and zika, the dengue virus spreads to humans from mosquito bites. Dengue often spreads when:
According to the CDC, about 75 percent of all dengue infections show no symptoms. But, about five percent of those infected will develop severe symptoms, including some of those outlined above.
As a mosquito-borne disease, preventing dengue is as simple as preventing mosquito bites. Unfortunately, there is not currently an approved dengue vaccine in the United States.
To protect yourself from dengue, many health organizations suggest:
For more information on mosquito bite prevention methods and what you can do to protect yourself and your family, consider speaking with a travel health specialist by calling or booking online today.
There is currently no dengue vaccine approved for use in the United States. A vaccine was approved for use in Mexico, but has yet to come to market. Various other dengue vaccines are currently under development.
Stay up-to-date on all dengue vaccine news by reading and bookmarking our dengue vaccine page.
Before 1970, dengue outbreaks were not common. Only nine countries had experience severe dengue epidemics. Since then, the disease has spread almost globally. An estimated 3.9 billion people are at risk of dengue infection in 128 countries. The countries and regions most affected by dengue fever are:
If you are planning travel to any of these regions, check below for any active or recent outbreaks. Health organizations also recommend visiting with a travel health specialist like at Passport Health. To find out more call us at or book online today.
As a mosquito-borne disease, dengue infection tends to wax and wane with the seasons. Countries or regions with active or recent dengue outbreaks are:
To learn more about these outbreaks or others, see HealthMap's DengueMap.
If you plan to travel to any of these locations, be sure to visit with a travel health specialist. Travel nurses or doctors, like at Passport Health, will provide you with the information you need to stay safe on our journey.
Book your appointment by calling or schedule online today.
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