CDC Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Dengue Travel Alert Updated For the Americas

Dengvaxia vaccination reduces the risks of severe dengue infections
globe showing the americas
South America (Vax Before Travel)

The ongoing Dengue risk in the Americas continues into the summer of 2020, says the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

On May 21, 2020, the CDC announced many parts of Central and South America, Mexico, and the Caribbean have continued to report dengue fever cases.

Dengue is common in more than 100 countries around the world, and about 3 billion people live in areas with a risk of contracting 1 of dengue’s 4 virus subtypes.

When people are infected with one dengue serotype, a follow-on infection with another serotype may result in the development of more intense infections.

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In response to this expanding risk, the CDC reissued a Level 1 Travel Alert to ensure international travelers are aware of this potentially lethal virus.

Dengue infections can become severe within just a few hours.

Severe Dengue is a medical emergency, usually requiring hospitalization. In severe cases, health effects can include hemorrhage, shock, organ failure, and death says the CDC.

While dengue is not a measurable risk to Americans at home, as of May 3, 2020, the CDC has reported 99 dengue cases from international travelers.

Most dengue cases in the USA are reported by the states of California and Florida.  

And, the US Territories have reported 125 dengue cases this year. Puerto Rico continues to confirm the vast majority of these dengue cases.

In the Americas, an infected mosquito can spread the dengue virus to people.

This indicates that all travelers to at-risk areas should prevent 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, says the CDC.

Since there is no specific treatment for dengue infections, early detection and access to proper medical care lowers fatality rates to below 1 percent, says the CDC.

Additionally, the CDC says a pregnant woman infected with dengue can pass the virus to her fetus during pregnancy.

The May 21st Travel Alert highlights these countries as reporting dengue outbreaks in 2020: Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay, and Peru.

The Dengvaxia vaccine is the only approved dengue vaccine in the USA. And, Dengvaxia is approved for use in several countries in the Americas.

Dengvaxia is indicated for the prevention of dengue disease caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3, and 4. Dengvaxia is not approved for use in individuals not previously infected by any of the dengue virus 4 serotypes or for whom their immunization information is unknown.

The CDC suggests people considering a dengue vaccination should first speak with a qualified healthcare provider.

Vax-Before-Travel publishes dengue travel news.