ABC Guide to Travel Health - Vaccines, Vaccinations

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Dengue fever

Dengue fever is a serious infection caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans by the bites of infected mosquitoes. The illness occurs in two forms: dengue fever, a severe flu-like illness that affects older children and adults, which is rarely fatal, and a more severe form, the potentially fatal dengue haemorrhagic fever, which mainly affects children under 15 years of age.14-16

Mosquitoes transmit dengue fever to humans. They bite on multiple occasions, and are most active during the day (especially in the early morning and late afternoon) and are often present indoors. There is no direct person-to-person transmission.

Geographical distribution
Dengue is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America and South/Southeast Asia and in the Pacific. It also occurs in Africa . Dengue is predominantly in urban centres, and is rarely found at altitudes above 600 m (2,000 ft).14 In Australia , cases of dengue fever have occurred occasionally in North Queensland and in the islands of the Torres Strait.16

See dengue fever distribution map 1

See dengue fever distribution map 2

Risk for travellers14
There is a significant risk for travellers in areas where dengue is endemic and in areas affected by epidemics of dengue.

Precautions and prevention14

  • There is no vaccine to prevent dengue fever. Therefore the only way to prevent infection is to avoid mosquito bites.
  • Take precautions to avoid mosquito bites at all times while in endemic areas. Please follow precautions under Insect avoidance.

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