Dengue

Don’t get bitten.

If you feel sick during your trip or in the first 3 weeks after you return home, seek medical advice. If you are back in New Zealand you can call Healthline for free on 0800 611 116, or see your family doctor. Make sure you tell them about your travel.

About the dengue virus

Dengue is spread by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.

You can’t catch dengue from another person.

Dengue can make you very sick. Severe dengue can kill.

There are four types of the virus that cause dengue. These are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. You can get dengue up to four times in your life, as infection by one type does not give immunity against the other types.

Dengue outbreaks are common in tropical and subtropical Pacific Islands, where the Aedes mosquitoes live. Aedes mosquitoes that are able to spread dengue fever are not normally found in New Zealand.  

The best way to avoid dengue is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Mosquitoes that carry dengue bite mainly during the day, mostly at dawn and dusk.

Symptoms and treatment for dengue infection

Dengue symptoms can last from 2–7 days and may include:

  • a sudden fever
  • an intense headache (especially behind the eyes)
  • muscle and joint pain
  • feeling very tired
  • nausea/ vomiting
  • a skin rash.

People with dengue symptoms, including those who have travelled recently, should drink plenty of fluids and use paracetamol to manage fever and pain.

Do not use aspirin or ibuprofen tablets (and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory tablets) as they can increase the risk of bleeding from dengue infection. Speak to your pharmacist or doctor first.

Two to 5 days after dengue symptoms have begun, some people – less than 5 percent – may get severe dengue, with their health rapidly getting worse despite a decrease in the fever.

[Title: Fight the bite, day and night]

Travelling overseas?

Fight the bite day and night.

[Dr Laupepa Va'a to camera]

Talofa lava, my name is Dr Laupepa Va'a from the Ministry of Health.

Mosquitoes in some countries can spread diseases like dengue fever, malaria, yellow fever and the Zika virus that can make you or your loved ones very sick.

The best way to avoid these diseases is to avoid getting bitten during the day, and at night!  

Encourage family and other group members to do this too. Everyone needs to be kept safe.

[Footage of insect repellent being applied to a child as well as arms, hands and feet]

Simple things work best:

Use insect repellent, especially when you are outside. Some work better than others. You can find more information about this on our website.

[Footage showing sunscreen being applied, followed by insect repellent]

If you use both sunscreen and insect repellent, put the sunscreen on first and then the repellent.

[Footage showing a long sleeved shirt being rolled down, buttoning up shirt, adjusting long pants, hat being put on child's head]

Wear clothes that protect you from mosquitoes: light coloured long-sleeved shirts, long pants and hats are ideal.

[Footage showing clothes being sprayed with insect repellent]

You can spray your clothing with insect repellent too to help stop mosquitoes biting through your clothes.

[Footage showing insect repellent being reapplied to arms and feet]

Remember to reapply the repellent as you would on your skin, because it wears off over time.

[Footage showing mosquito coil being lit and image of tent with screen door]

You can use mosquito coils and if you’re camping, use insect screens on tents.

[Footage showing air conditioning unit and ceiling fan]

When you’re inside:

Turn on the air conditioning if you have it - cool air keeps mosquitoes away.

[Footage showing insect spray being used and image of insect screen on door/window]

Use insect sprays and try to stay in places with insect screens on windows and doors.

[Still images showing mosquito nets over beds]

If you are not staying somewhere with air conditioning or insect screens, sleep under a mosquito net at night, or put on  insect repellent before you go to bed.

[Dr Laupepa Va'a to camera]

If you feel sick during your trip or after you come home, get medical advice.

If you are back in NZ you can call Healthline for free. Or see your family doctor and make sure you tell them about your travel.

You can find out more on the Ministry of Health website.

People with severe dengue symptoms require hospitalisation, because the disease is life-threatening.

Warning signs of severe dengue include:

  • severe abdominal pain
  • persistent vomiting
  • bleeding gums
  • vomiting blood
  • rapid breathing
  • fatigue/ restlessness.

In this section

  • Ko lako tiko ki na Pasivika? Mo taqomaki iko kei ratou na lewe ni nomu matavuvale me kua ni kati kemudou na namu. Vulica tale e so na ka. Read more
  • O e faimalaga i se motu o le Pasefika? Ia puipuia lelei oe ma lou auaiga mai le aafia i le dengue, e ala i le alofia o le 'ai o oe e namu. Read more
  • 'Okú ke 'amanaki folau atu ki he Pasifiki? Tauhi malu koe mo ho fāmilí meí he tengí 'aki ho'omou faka'ehi'ehi meí he u'u 'a e namú. Lau 'a e fakaikiikí 'i heni. Read more
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