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Dengue Cases Decreased in the Americas During 2020

Dengvaxia vaccination reduces dengue risks when visiting the Americas
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According to new information, in the Region of the Americas, the total number of cases of arboviral disease reported as of week #21 of 2020 represents about a 10 percent decrease when compared to the same period in 2019.

So far this year, the Americas region has reported 553 dengue-related fatalities.

This news from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) published on June 10, 2020, found 97.3% of these arboviral cases were dengue, with a small number of chikungunya and Zika cases confirmed this year.

Dengue is caused by one of 4 related viruses. For this reason, a person can be infected with a dengue virus as many as 4 times in his or her lifetime.

The new PAHO data indicates there are 4 dengue serotypes circulating in Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico.

While in Guatemala, Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Saint Martin, Argentina, and Paraguay report the circulation of 3 dengue serotype combinations.

In Brazil, a total of 1,040,481 cases of dengue were reported during 2020. Of the total cases, 342 were confirmed deaths, and 20,986 remain under investigation. 

Of the total confirmed dengue cases in Brazil, 585 (0.05%) were classified as severe dengue.

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Each year, up to 400 million people get infected with dengue. Approximately 100 million people get sick from infection, and severe dengue causes about 22,000 related fatalities each year, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The disease can take up to 2 weeks to develop with illness generally lasting less than a week.

Health effects from dengue include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, muscle and joint pain, and minor bleeding.

Travelers to the Americas can protect themselves from dengue by preventing mosquito bites, says the CDC.

Dengue viruses are spread to people through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These are the same mosquitoes that spread Zika and chikungunya viruses.

To notify visitors of their health risks when visiting the Americas, the CDC reissued a Level 1 Travel Alert on June 9, 2020.

This CDC Alert says visitors to these countries should use the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents. When used as directed, EPA-registered insect repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant and breastfeeding women.

A vaccine to prevent dengue (Dengvaxia) is licensed and available in some countries for people ages 9-45 years old. Three doses of vaccine are required. 

Each Dengvaxia vaccination is spaced 6 months apart.

The World Health Organization recommends that the vaccine only be given to persons with confirmed prior dengue virus infection.

The vaccine manufacturer, Sanofi Pasteur, announced in 2017 that people who receive the vaccine and have not been previously infected with a dengue virus may be at risk of developing severe dengue if they get dengue after being vaccinated with Dengvaxia.

If you are interested in getting vaccinated with Dengvaxia, the CDC says to first speak to your healthcare provider.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes dengue outbreak news.