Dengue Fever is a viral disease spread by the female, day biting Aedes aegypti mosquito, which occurs in tropical areas such as South East Asia, India, the Caribbean, Central America, parts of South America and Central Africa.
Presently, there is no vaccination protection against dengue fever. A traveller's best defence against the disease are awareness of the risks and sensible precautions against mosquito bites such as effective insect repellents and appropriate clothing.
Scientists are working on a vaccine. Currently trials are being done in Queensland.
Dengue Fever has an incubation period (time between becoming infected and developing symptoms) commonly of 5-8 days.
Initial Signs and Symptoms
- sudden high fever and chills
- severe headache and pain behind the eyes,
- aching back and limbs
- sore throat
- vomiting and diarrhoea
- flushing of the skin
- fatigue and depression are sometimes associated
After 3-4 days the symptoms tend to lapse for a day or so before the fever enters a second phase, with similar, usually milder symptoms accompanied by a rash which begins on the hands and feet and may spread to most areas of the body
Fatalities are rare with this disease, but convalescence is very slow, even with medication, and complications such as pneumonia can occur.
Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever is a dangerous and potentially fatal strain of the virus, which causes internal bleeding. Immediate medical treatment must be sought if Dengue Fever is suspected, to ensure prompt treatment if haemorrhagic symptoms occur. This is much more common if the person has had Dengue Fever previously.