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US Issues Travel Alert for Asia-Pacific Region for Dengue Outbreaks

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said travelers to areas of risk should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites.

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Updated:September 7, 2019, 1:57 PM IST
US Issues Travel Alert for Asia-Pacific Region for Dengue Outbreaks
Representative image. (Image: Reuters)

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues a Level 1 Travel Alert on August 27, for various countries in Asia and the Pacific Islands regarding the ongoing risks from the Dengue virus. According to the CDC, the countries which are reporting higher-than-usual numbers of dengue cases, putting travelers visiting these countries at increased risk include Bangladesh, French Polynedia (Tahiti and Bora Bora), Marshall Islands, Philippines, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, CDC said travelers to areas of risk should protect themselves by preventing mosquito bites. It suggested using an "EPA-registered insect repellent, wearing long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned room or room with window screens or under an insecticide-treated bed net."

Dengue is a viral disease spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms include fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, rash, pain in the eyes, joints, and muscles, and minor bleeding. Symptoms of dengue can take up to 2 weeks to develop but usually last less than a week. In severe cases, symptoms may include haemorrhage, shock, organ failure and death.

According to the CDC, travellers who go to tropical and sub-tropical regions are at a heightened risk of contracting dengue. The mosquito that carries the dengue virus can bite during the day and night and often lives around buildings in urban areas.

While there are no specific vaccines or antiviral treatments against dengue fever, use of paracetamol to bring down the fever is indicated. However, in May 2019, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Dengvaxia in the United States for use in children 9-16 years old living in an area where dengue is common with lab-confirmed prior dengue virus infection.

Furthermore, travellers who are visiting places with high dengue risk should cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats. They should also be using insect repellent. In case they apply sunscreen, it should be followed by the insect repellent. Additionally, they should stay and sleep in screened or air-conditioned rooms and use a bed net if the area where they are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

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