As healthcare providers, our primary mission is ensuring travelers are healthy and prepared for their journeys. This year, there was a surge in dengue fever cases in endemic areas of Asia, parts of Africa and the Americas, and this has caught our attention. The CDC reported an increase in dengue cases, sounding a note of caution for travelers. Whether you're an adventurer setting out for a tropical escape or a dedicated humanitarian aid worker, understanding dengue is crucial to maintaining your health abroad.
Dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, has rapidly spread across the globe in recent decades. Its symptoms range from mild fever to incapacitating high fever (Dengue is sometimes referred to as Break-Bone Fever), severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and rash. The sting of the Aedes aegypti or Aedes albopictus mosquitoes primarily transmits it.
Regrettably, there's currently no targeted treatments for dengue yet, and the vaccine is not available in Canada. But the lack of widespread treatment options doesn't leave us powerless. Here are some key strategies for travelers to protect themselves against dengue:
Prevent Mosquito Bites: The most effective protection measure is avoiding mosquito bites. Use insect repellents, wear long sleeves and pants, and opt for accommodations with window and door screens or air conditioning.
Stay Informed: Be aware of the areas with ongoing outbreaks. WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide frequent updates about the current dengue situation worldwide. It is always advisable to consult with a travel practitioner on all precautions & measures to confidently explore.
Travel Insurance: Ensure your travel insurance meets your needs for your upcoming itinerary, including coverage for emergency care. For more details, it is best to consult with a travel provider accordingly or secure a travel insurance through our preferred partner.
Dengue is not something to fear, but it is something to respect. Just as you would pack a raincoat when traveling to a place with a forecast of rain, pack your repellent and long-sleeved clothing when traveling to a dengue-endemic region. The best journey is a safe journey, and being prepared for dengue is one way to ensure you have a trip that’s memorable for all the right reasons!
Need more info? Read our FAQ's on everything you need to know before your travel. https://travelhealthnow.ca/pages/malaria-what-you-need-to-know
For the latest updates and comprehensive information on dengue, visit the CDC's dengue page at https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/