Dengue cases near the 1.5 million mark

With nearly 1.5 million dengue fever cases recorded for the year to June 29, Brazil ranks first across the globe according to the latest ECDC update. Vietnam, Peru, Indonesia and the Philippines round out the top five, reporting figures which ranged from nearly 63,000 down to 27,686. Brazil also topped the list of countries with chikungunya infections and related deaths. In related news, local media are reporting a 6-year high in dengue fever cases in El Salvador, with months more of the rainy season to run. Lastly, a June 30 Science article outlined the findings from a recent Chinese study which suggested that a compound secreted by humans and mice infected with Zika and dengue viruses made them more likely to be bitten by mosquitoes. The research team will now move onto conducting trials of a medication to supress the compound’s effect on mosquito feeding. Read more

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.