What is dengue?
Dengue fever is passed on by a mosquito bit, mostly the Aedes aegypti mosquito (or “tiger mosquito”). There are four types of the dengue virus, and the infection causes a wide range of symptoms, including fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, and rash. People infected with dengue often also experience long-term fatigue.
Dengue occasionally develops into a life-threatening form (known as severe dengue), which causes abdominal pain and vomitting, breathing difficulty and a decrease in of blood platelets that can lead to internal bleeding.
ABOUT 2.5% OF THOSE INFECTED BY SEVERE DENGUE DIE,
AND THERE IS NO CURE FOR THE INFECTION.
Many people infected by the virus a first time show few or no symptoms, but they can still contribute to the transmission of the virus if bitten by a mosquito.
Having been infected once does not protect you from the virus. In many cases, the second time you get dengue, the symptoms are more severe.
Where is it?
Dengue is the fastest-growing mosquito-borne viral infection, and its impact today is 30 times greater than 50 years ago.
As recently as the 1970s, less than 10 countries had reported epidemics of severe dengue. These days, dengue is present in over 150 countries.
While most reported cases are in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Western Pacific, dengue also is present in many African countries. And it is spreading to Europe, as well as in the USA, and China.
Who is affected and who is most at risk?
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 40% of the world’s population is at risk of being infected with dengue. All age groups are at risk.