The rise in the number of suspected and confirmed dengue fever cases in the first three weeks of the year (339 cases and 6 deaths) follows 12 months of increased reporting – over four times the 2017 case count. The highest incidence of dengue (circulating strain is DENV3) is in Saint Catherine Parish, location of the former capital, Spanish Town. A WHO Disease Outbreak News post also notes that ‘some countries and territories in the Caribbean region, such as Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Saint Martin, reported an increase in dengue cases. Of note, in Saint Martin and Guadeloupe, serotype DENV1 is currently circulating.’
Advice for travellers
Dengue is spread by two types of Aedes mosquitoes. Both breed close to dwellings, are found in shady areas and bite mainly during the daylight hours, making them difficult to avoid. Travellers should cover up with long-sleeved tops, long pants, and shoes and socks when mosquitoes are most active. Apply repellent containing an active ingredient, such as DEET, Picaridin, or PMD when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever.
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.