Dengue Virus Hot-Spots Are Getting Hotter

Takeda dengue vaccine TAK-003 reported efficacious results from phase 3 study

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The Communicable Disease Threats Report (CDTR) published on March 23, 2019, highlights the worldwide threat of the Dengue virus. 

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has rapidly spread to most countries. A recent study estimates that 3.9 billion people, in 128 countries, are at risk of infection with dengue viruses. 

And, when the temperature increases, the dengue virus replicates faster! 

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

In the near future, USA residents may have access to the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia and a vaccine candidate named TAK-003.   

Highlighted in this week’s CDTR are the countries of Brazil, France’s Réunion Island, Philippines, Honduras, and Jamacia, who have reported a sharp increase in cases during 2019.

  • Brazil: Brazil’s Ministry of Health's dengue warning is due to the 264% increase in dengue cases in the country, from 62,900 in the first 11 weeks of 2018 to 229,064, as of March 16, 2019. The number of deaths from the disease has also increased particularly in the state of São Paulo.
  • Philippines: The South China Morning Post reported ‘almost 40,000 cases of dengue from the beginning of January to March 2, including 150 related deaths. This data is a large increase from the 24,000 cases confirmed in the same period during 2018.
  • Réunion  Island, France: French authorities have detected 2,307 cases of the dengue virus, and 6 related deaths, since the beginning of 2019. This data from March 10, 2019, compares with just 350 confirmed dengue cases for the same time period in 2018.
  • Honduras: Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported on March 12, 2019, that 789 individuals were treated for severe dengue during 2019. Since the beginning of 2019, 12 people have died from dengue fever at the Mario Catarino Rivas Hospital, said MSF.
  • Jamaica: As of February 4th, 2019, a Dengue Fever Virus outbreak on the Island of Jamaica had reached 339 suspected and confirmed cases, including 6 deaths.

There are 4 distinct, but closely related, serotypes of the virus that cause dengue (DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, and DEN-4). 

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Recovery from infection by one provides lifelong immunity against that particular serotype. However, cross-immunity to the other serotypes after recovery is only partial and temporary. 

Subsequent infections by other serotypes increase the risk of developing severe dengue.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the only way to prevent the transmission of the dengue virus is to fight against mosquitoes bites.

To know where there are active dengue outbreaks, the CDC has issued Travel Alerts related to dengue and continues to update its ‘maps.’ 

Travel vaccination and medication counseling sessions can be easily scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.