Regional dengue fever update

Summarising 2019 in the November 11 dengue update, the PAHO disclosed that the case count to mid-Oct was ‘the largest recorded in the history of dengue in the Americas, exceeding by 13% the number of cases reported in the epidemic year of 2015’. Severe dengue cases were also higher than reported in that year. All four dengue serotypes have been circulating in Brazil, Guatemala and Mexico; a further seven countries report the presence of three serotypes. Overall, highest incidence rates across the region were in Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Brazil (most probable cases - 2,069,502 and 702 deaths).

Advice for travellers

Dengue is spread by Aedes mosquitoes which breed in shady areas close homes and other accommodation. They bite mainly during the daylight hours, making them difficult to avoid outdoors. 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 oil of lemon eucalyptus (PMD) when outdoors to all exposed skin. Read more about dengue fever and preventing insect bites.

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.