Dengue Fever is a viral illness transmitted by a mosquito bite (from an Aedes type mosquito).
This illness is very widespread in tropical and sub-tropical regions: The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries in Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-east Asia and the Western Pacific. The American, South-east Asia and the Western Pacific regions are the most seriously affected.
The mosquito responsible for Dengue Fever lives in both rural and urban areas; it adapts well to temperature changes and bites at night and during the day, unlike its nocturnal cousin, the Anopheles mosquito responsible for Malaria.
Usually, Dengue Fever is a benign illness with symptoms similar to the flu. Incubation lasts 2-7 days before a high fever, headaches, muscular and joint pains, and a skin rash on the hands and feet occur.
No specific Dengue Fever treatment exists, but medication can be prescribed to treat these symptoms (antipyretics or analgesics like paracetamol or codeine for fever and pains). Aspirin, however, should be avoided.
In most cases, the illness is cured after a long convalescence. Sometimes Dengue Fever can transform into a much more serious illness – Hemorrhagic Dengue. This is characterised by major abdominal pains, a bloody nose and blood infiltrations under the skin (purpura). The outcome can be fatal, particularly for children under 15 years of age and for people suffering from immune deficiency.
Neither a vaccine nor a specific treatment exists. It is therefore critical to take individual precautionary measures to protect yourself from mosquito bites. These measures are essential in zones endemic with Dengue Fever, or during seasonal outbreaks of the disease. Here are a few easy-to-follow recommendations to help you significantly reduce the risks:
So carry in your hand luggage the proper clothing and sprays, especially if you are scheduled to arrive at the end of the day or in the evening. If you have any problems whilst travelling, don’t wait until you get home to consult a doctor. Allianz Global Assistance’s emergency medical team is available to discuss any questions or doubts you may have about your health. We can provide useful advice and organize a consultation wherever you are.
Children under 15 years of age and people with a weakened immune system are more likely to contract the serious type of Dengue illness. It is therefore essential to strictly apply the preventive measures mentioned above.
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