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Dengue Fever

a.k.a Denny

This unpleasant virus is spread through mosquito bites; it’s usually mild but it can be fatal. Symptoms include a fever, a severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea and a red rash.

Key Fact

Half a million people with severe dengue fever require hospitalisation each year.1

disease risk map

How do people catch the disease?

When they’re bitten by infected mosquitoes which carry the virus.1

Which countries are affected?

Much of Central and South America and some African and Asian countries (see map).2

What are the symptoms?

A very high temperature (more than 40°Centigrade) with a severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or rash.1

How serious is the disease?

In most cases, dengue is mild and people recover in around a week. But in rare cases it can be life-threatening. In severe cases fluid accumulates in the lungs, causing breathing problems. Dengue can also cause bleeding and organ failure.1

Can I reduce the chances of catching the disease?

You can take the following precautions to help reduce your risk of infection:

  • Visit your nearest convenient pharmacy or specialist travel health clinic for a risk assessment before your trip
  • Take steps to avoid mosquito bites when mosquitoes are most active (during daylight hours)3
  • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either 20% Picaridin (e.g Moskito Guard®), DEET or PMD7
  • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g long-sleeved clothes and long trousers)4


1. World Health Organization. Factsheet. Dengue and severe dengue. April 2017. Available online: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs117/en/# (Last accessed September 2017)

2. World Health Organization. Dengue, counties or areas at risk, 2013. Available online: http://gamapserver.who.int/mapLibrary/Files/Maps/Global_DengueTransmission_ITHRiskMap.png?ua=1 (Last accessed September 2017)

3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2018. Chapter 2 The Pre-Travel Consultation. Counseling & Advice for Travelers. Protection against Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. May 2017. Available online: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2018/the-pre-travel-consultation/protection-against-mosquitoes-ticks-other-arthropods (Last accessed September 2017)

4. Public Health England. Mosquito bite avoidance for travellers. August 2017. Available online: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/mosquito-bite-avoidance-for-travellers (Last accessed September 2017)


UK/TRA/0817/0171l September 2017