Dengue

Dengue is an infection caused by the dengue virus of which there are four different types (serogroups). The disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquitoes that spread dengue usually breed in urban areas close to human habitation and are most active during daylight hours. Although unpleasant, dengue is usually a self-limiting illness. However a small, but significant, number of people can develop more severe, life-threatening infection.

The disease is common in the tropics. Affected areas include the Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, Asia and the Pacific Islands. Although less common, outbreaks are increasingly being reported outside tropical areas, including in Europe, with locally acquired cases reported in Croatia, France and Madeira. Dengue does not occur naturally in the United Kingdom (UK), it is a travel-associated infection. Cases of dengue in UK travellers are increasing, with most reported in travellers who visited Asia, the Americas and the Caribbean. Country-specific information on dengue is available on our Country Information pages and current dengue outbreaks are listed on our Outbreak Surveillance section.

All travellers to dengue endemic countries are at risk of dengue infection. The chance of contracting dengue is determined by several factors, including destination, length of exposure and season of travel. Risk is thought to be higher during periods of intense mosquito feeding activity (two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening) Travellers, who spend long periods in areas where dengue is common, are at increased risk, but even short-term visitors can be infected.

Most people infected with dengue remain symptom-free. If symptoms do occur, the illness usually begins abruptly with a high fever, and is often accompanied by a severe headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting and a rash. Most infections are self-limiting, with a rapid recovery three to four days after the rash appears.

A small number of people develop more severe illness with symptoms which can include dangerously low blood pressure (shock), fluid build-up in the lungs and severe bleeding. There is no specific drug treatment for severe dengue illness, although hospital admission and careful management of fever, fluid balance and pain can help with recovery. If left untreated, severe dengue illness can be fatal.

Prevention

Travellers can check our Country Information pages for information on the risk of dengue at their destination. Mosquito bite avoidance is recommended. As dengue is spread by day-biting mosquitoes, particular care with bite avoidance is advised during the day, especially around dawn and dusk. As of January 2023, a new vaccine Qdenga® has been licensed in the UK for the prevention of dengue disease in individuals from 4 years of age. The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) are in the process of reviewing the product information. Recommendations on the use of this vaccine will be published in due course.

Resources

First published : 22 November 2018 Last updated : 18 June 2024

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Recent News on Dengue

Global dengue risk reminder

Dengue is a virus spread by mosquitoes found in tropical and sub-tropical regions worldwide, including parts of Europe

Updated: 01 May 2024

Qdenga® dengue vaccine guidance

Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) deliberations on Qdenga® vaccine now available

Updated: 21 March 2024

Dengue: the Caribbean region

An increase in cases of dengue have been reported in the Caribbean region

Updated: 06 February 2024

Locally acquired cases of dengue in France

Cases of dengue have been reported in southern and northern France

Updated: 25 October 2023


Recent Dengue Outbreaks

23 July 2024

Dengue in French Polynesia

Between 27 November 2023 and 19 July 2024, 81 confirmed cases of dengue have been reported. As of 19 July 2024, active circulation of the virus is ongoing in Tahiti, Moorea and Nuku-Hiva.

Take usual precautions

17 July 2024

Dengue in Thailand

As of 4 July, a total of 36,246 dengue fever cases, including 37 deaths, have been reported in 2024.

Take usual precautions

15 July 2024

Dengue in Mali

As of 12 July 2024, 5,142 cases (631 confirmed; 4,51 suspected) and six deaths of dengue fever have been reported from ten of the eleven regions in Mali. Two serotypes (DENV-1 and DENV-3) were detected among confirmed cases.

Take usual precautions

15 July 2024

Dengue in Togo

As of 28 June 2024, Togo has recorded 197 dengue fever cases since May 7, 2024. The cases were mainly reported in the Lomé health district. This is the first reported dengue fever outbreak in Togo.

Take usual precautions