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Published On: Thu, May 16th, 2013

Public Health England reports surge in dengue fever cases in returning travelers

United Kingdom health officials reports a three-fold increase in dengue fever during the first four months of 2013 as compared to the same period in 2012, according to a Public Health England (PHE) news release Wednesday.

To the end of April 2013, 141 confirmed and probable cases of dengue fever have been reported. In contrast there were 51 cases during the same period in 2012.

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito Image/James Gathany

Female Aedes aegypti mosquito
Image/James Gathany

In 2011, the annual number of cases was 223 with 343 reported in 2012 – an increase of 54%.

Travel destinations for travelers from England, Wales and Northern Ireland who returned with dengue fever include Sri Lanka, Brazil and Barbados.

Of the cases reported to PHE so far in 2013, 37 have reported travel to Thailand compared to 16 for the same period in 2012. The annual totals of cases who report travel to Thailand have also continued to increase year-on-year with 21 in 2011 and 58 in 2012.

What is dengue fever?

Dr Jane Jones, a travel-associated infection expert at PHE, said, “The increase in the numbers of people returning with dengue fever is concerning so we want to remind people of the need to practice strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times to reduce their risk of becoming unwell.

“Of those who became unwell the majority had been to South East Asia and the Far East with the next highest proportions visiting the Indian Subcontinent, followed by the Caribbean. Anyone who develops a fever or flu-like symptoms within two weeks of returning from these areas should seek medical advice from NHS 111 or their GP.”

There is no vaccine to protect against dengue fever; travelers should practice strict mosquito bite avoidance measures, in particular by using repellents containing DEET and wearing cover up clothing. The mosquito that transmits dengue fever to humans bites in the day, particularly around dawn and dusk, so protection is advised throughout the day.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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