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Dengue Fever: Global Update

Updated: October 24, 2014

Travel Health Notice

Outbreaks of dengue fever have become increasingly frequent over the past 25 years.

Dengue feverExternal link is a disease spread to humans by mosquitoes and is caused by one of four types of dengue viruses. Dengue fever can cause severe flu-like symptoms and in some cases, may lead to dengue haemorrhagic fever (severe dengue), which can be fatal.

There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever. 

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers protect themselves from mosquito bitesExternal link when travelling to areas where dengue fever may occur.

Where is dengue fever a concern?

Dengue fever occurs (is endemic) in most tropical and subtropical areas of the world. There is a risk of dengue in Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean, the Eastern Mediterranean, South and Southeast Asia, and Oceania. A map of the areas where dengue fever occursExternal link is available from the World Health Organization.

Dengue fever occurs mainly in urban and semi-urban areas. Countries affected by the rainy season are expected to have an increase in dengue cases.

In 2014, Malaysia and Singapore have reported more cases when compared to the same time period in 2013. Also this year, a dengue outbreak has been reported in Fiji and the number of cases is expected to increase.

A locally acquired case of dengue was reported in the Var, a southern region of France in August of this year. This has occurred previously in 2010 and 2013 in two separate regions of southern France.

Japan has reported cases of locally acquired dengue throughout the country although the majority of cases were in people who had visited Yoyogi Park in Tokyo and nearby areas. These are the first locally acquired cases of dengue reported in over 70 years.

In China, an outbreak of dengue has been reported in Guangdong province where a significant increase in the number of dengue cases has been reported when compared to the same time period last year.

Recommendations

Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.

  • Protect yourself from mosquito bitesExternal link, particularly during peak mosquito biting times around sunrise and sunset.
  • If you develop symptoms similar to dengue fever when you are travelling or after you return, see a health care provider and tell them where you have been travelling or living.