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Dengue Fever

Dengue Fever illustration

What is dengue fever?

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 pains, nausea and a red rash.

Dengue Fever illustration

Risk areas for Dengue Fever

Map of risk areas for Dengue Fever
  • Key fact

    Severe dengue is a leading cause of serious illness and death in some Asian and Latin American countries.1

  • How do you get dengue fever?

    When bitten by mosquitoes carrying the virus. These mosquitoes can also carry other viruses such as Chikungunya, Yellow Fever and Zika.1

  • Which countries are affected by dengue fever?

    Over 100 countries, including Africa, the Americas, Eastern Mediterranean, South East Asia and the Western Pacific are affected (see map).2

  • What are the symptoms of dengue fever?

    This virus usually causes an infection which feels like severe flu. It should be suspected when you have a high fever with two or more of the following symptoms: severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands or a rash.1

    Symptoms usually occur between 4 and 10 days after being bitten, and usually last for 2-7 days1. Therefore, you may start to feel ill when you are back home after your trip.1

  • How serious is dengue fever?

    In most cases, dengue is mild. But in rare cases it can be life-threatening. In severe cases, it causes fluid to leak out of blood vessels which can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs, and difficulty breathing. Dengue can also cause bleeding and organ failure.1

  • Can I prevent getting dengue fever?

    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
    • Use a recommended insect repellent containing either Picaridin, DEET, PMD or OLE, IR3535 or 2-undecanone3
    • Wear appropriate clothing (e.g loose fitting long-sleeved clothes, long trousers, socks and shoes) to minimise exposed skin4
    • Use mosquito nets if you are sleeping or resting in unscreened accommodation or sleeping outdoors during the day or night4

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  1. World Health Organization. Fact sheets. Dengue and severe dengue. May 2021. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  2. World Health Organization. Dengue, counties or areas at risk, 2013. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yellow Book 2020. Chapter 3 Environmental Hazards & Other Noninfectious Health Risks. Mosquitoes, Ticks, & Other Arthropods. July 2019. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)
  4. Public Health England. Mosquito bite avoidance for travellers. August 2017. Available online: (Last accessed May 2021)

UK-BOTB-2100020 May 2021