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What is Dengue?

Dengue occurs worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas, especially during the rainy season. It is a mosquito-borne disease with 4 different strains of Dengue virus (in Flores not all of them are existent). People who have been infected with a certain strain of the Dengue virus, become immune to this strain and cannot become infected again by this specific strain. Dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) usually occurs in individuals previously infected by another serotype. Dengue shock syndrome (DSS), which is the most severe form of DHF, occurs mainly amongst children, and especially in infants. DHF more commonly develops in older children and adults. Travellers from non-endemic areas have a low risk of developing DHF.

How can I get infected with Dengue?

Humans acquire Dengue when they are bitten by female Aedes mosquitoes, mainly Aedes Aegypti, usually during the day and especially two hours after sunrise or two hours before sunset. Many cases occur in crowded urban areas and Aedes mosquitoes are often found near human habitats.

How do I know if I have Dengue?

After an incubation period of 3-14 days (commonly 4-7 days) starts a biphasic illness with sudden onset of severe headache, high fever and joint and muscle pain, followed after 3 to 5 days by a transient rash and defervescence (reduction of fever). Then, fever returns, accompanied by a more extensive rash.

Dengue shock syndrome also begins with fever and headache, but respiratory and gastrointestinal symptoms are prominent, thrombocytopenia (low blood platelet count) and hemoconcentration (an increase in the concentration of red blood cells) are characteristic, and jaundice (yellowish staining of skin and the whites of eyes) may occur. However, be aware that symptoms may vary strongly from patient to patient.

What can I do in case I think I have Dengue?

The mortality rate is very low and the disease resolves in the second week, but the body’s recovery to health may be prolonged. In DHF, the mortality rate without treatment is 10% or higher, but with supportive treatment it is less than 1%.
In case you suspect dengue fever, it is important to observe the situation carefully.

  • Drink enough fluids like water, juice, or soup
  • Take complete rest
  • DO NOT use acetylsalicylic acid (e.g. Aspirin) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory dugs (e.g. Ibuprofen)

Dengue can become a serious medical emergency and symptoms are quite similar to other illnesses and diseases. Thus, please consult a doctor in your proximity in order to receive further advice and treatment.

How can I protect myself from Dengue?

The consequences of Dengue are serious enough to warrant preventive measures, which are specific for every individual traveller and their destination.

  • Since mosquitoes are the vectors of Dengue, it is absolutely essential that you protect yourself from mosquitoes at day and night
  • Use reliable mosquito repellent products (containing DEET or Icaridin);
  • Hang a mosquito net to sleep under and make sure that open windows have screens
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at night.

There is no vaccine or drug to prevent Dengue!

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