Dengue fever has surged in the central Philippines, infecting more than 1,800 people and killing at least ten, according to reports.
Dengue fever is an acute mosquito-borne infection caused by the dengue viruses. This is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. The dengue viruses encompass 4 different serotypes, each of which can lead to dengue fever and dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF).
Dengue fever is transmitted to humans through the bites of female Aedes mosquitoes. When a patient suffering from dengue fever is bitten by a vector mosquito, the mosquito is infected and it may spread the disease by biting other people. The disease cannot be spread directly from human to human. The incubation period ranges from 3-14 days, commonly 4-7 days.
Signs, Symptoms and Medical Treatment
Dengue fever is clinically characterised by sudden onset of high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, nausea and rash. Some infected people may not develop apparent symptoms, and some may only have mild symptoms like fever.
The symptoms of first infection are usually mild. Immunity is attained against that serotype after recovery from its infection. However, no effective protection is conferred against subsequent infection by the other 3 serotypes.
At present, no effective vaccine for dengue fever is available and there is no specific medication for this disease. Dengue fever is mostly self-limiting.Patients with DHF should be treated promptly with supportive management. With appropriate and timely treatment, mortality rate is less than 1%.
Travel Health Advice
General measures on preventing mosquito-borne diseases：
1. Wear loose, light–coloured, long-sleeved tops and trousers, and apply effective mosquito repellent (containing DEET, Picaridin, IR3535 or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus) to exposed parts of the body and clothing.
2. Take additional preventive measures when hiking or going to scrubby areas.
3. Use mosquito screens or bed nets when the room is not air-conditioned.
4. Place anti-mosquito devices (e.g. mosquito coil) near possible entrance such as window.
5. Prevent accumulation of stagnant water
6. Seek medical advice promptly if you developed dengue fever like symptoms.