Asia-Pacific Travel Alert Issued For Dengue Outbreaks
An extensive Travel Alert was issued for various countries in Asia and the Pacific Islands regarding the ongoing risks from the Dengue virus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 1 Travel Alert on August 27, 2019, which said the countries listed below are reporting higher-than-usual numbers of dengue cases, and travelers visiting these countries may be at increased risk:
Furthermore, the CDC said ‘travelers to areas of risk should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites by using an EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room or room with window screens or under an insecticide-treated bed net.’
Dengue is caused by a virus that has 4 different but closely-related serotypes. When a person recovers from the infection, he acquires lifelong immunity against that particular serotype.
However, subsequent infections caused by other serotypes increase the risk of acquiring more severe forms of dengue.
Dengue Serotype 2 is one of the deadliest and is the serotype currently affecting children and adolescents, says the CDC.
Health effects from dengue include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle and joint pain, and minor bleeding.
Dengue can become severe within a few hours. Severe dengue is a medical emergency requiring immediate medical attention and usually requiring hospitalization.
In severe cases, health effects can include hemorrhage, shock, organ failure, and death.
In the USA, as of August 7, 2019, 216 dengue cases were reported to the CDC. During 2019, Florida, California, and New York have reported the most dengue cases.
There is a CDC approved preventive vaccine available for the dengue virus.
On May 1, 2019, Dengvaxia became the first vaccine approved in the USA for the prevention of dengue disease in people ages 9 through 16 who have laboratory-confirmed previous dengue infection and live in endemic areas caused by all dengue virus serotypes.
A blood test is the only way to confirm a dengue diagnosis.
The CDC says before being vaccinated with Dengvaxia, inform your healthcare provider if you have dengue symptoms or live in or have recently traveled to an area with risk of dengue.
Pre-travel vaccination counseling sessions can be scheduled at local pharmacies by Vax-Before-Travel.
Note: The CDC says any vaccine can cause side effects, which should be reported to a healthcare provider.
Published by Vax Before Travel