A bad year for dengue locally, and in the region

The capital, Vientiane, and southern provinces have recorded most of the recent dengue fever cases with health authorities announcing infections have surged to more than 37,500 cases and 74 associated deaths (cf. 5,600 cases and 15 deaths in 2018). Read more. Also in the region, Malaysia's national dengue fever case total has risen above 115,000 with more than half of them from Selangor. WP Kuala Lumpur has recorded more than 13,000 cases. Elsewhere in the region, the Maldives has experienced a surge in cases this year - Male', Hulhumale' City, Shaviyani, Noonu, and Lhaviyani atoll are most affected. In Vietnam a significantly larger dengue outbreak is on the cards after cases this year tripled and deaths increased 5-fold over 2018 figures. More than 50,000 cases were recorded in Ho Chi Minh City and all 63 provinces are reporting cases. Earlier this month, an Indonesian public health official said that between them, Java and Bali had most of the 61,071 cases reported up to the end of October, followed by Sumatra with almost 22,000 cases. Almost half of Nepal’s 14,400+ dengue cases registered between July and early this month were from Chitwan and Kathmandu. See more reports from Nepal, including updated dengue, leishmaniasis, scrub typhus and malaria from the EWARS Nov 17 Weekly Bulletin. Pakistan’s dengue case count since early July has exceeded 47,000 from four provinces and two territories (KP, Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, Islamabad and AJK). The WHO has assessed the risk of spread at a national level to be high and moderate for the region. Phuentsholing in Bhutan remains the centre of that outbreak after nearly five months and 4,300 cases. There has been a decline in new reporting; all but one of the 20 districts (dzongkhags) have recorded infections.   

Advice for travellers

Dengue fever is common in most tropical or sub-tropical regions of the world. The virus is spread by daytime-feeding Aedes mosquitoes and to avoid it and other insect-borne diseases, travellers should apply an insect repellent containing an effective active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin or oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD), to exposed skin when outdoors during the day. In addition, cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks around dawn and dusk, as well as other times when the mosquitoes are active.

Before you travel, call Travelvax Australia’s telephone advisory service on 1300 360 164 (toll-free from landlines) for country-specific advice and information. You can also make an appointment at your nearest Travelvax clinic to obtain vaccinations, medication to prevent or treat illness, and accessories for your journey.