Dengue

Dengue is a viral illness passed on by infected mosquitoes. The infection is usually mild but in rare cases it can be very serious.

Summary

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

Dengue is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. You can't catch dengue from another person. The mosquitoes that spread dengue are not commonly found in New Zealand.

Dengue is found in tropical and sub-tropical climates world-wide. Outbreaks are common in Pacific Islands. There's no specific treatment or widely available vaccine for dengue, so it's important to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes when visiting an area where the infection is found.

There are four types of the virus that cause dengue. These are known as DEN-1, DEN-2, DEN-3, DEN-4. Infection by one type gives immunity to that type, but does not give immunity against the other types.

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 doctor. Make sure you tell them about your travel.

Symptoms

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 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.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment for people with dengue. 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.

Prevention

There's no specific treatment or widely available vaccine for dengue, so it's important to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes when visiting an area where the infection is found.

Visit Avoiding bug bites while travelling page for more information.

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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