Dengue - What Is The Reality?

Travel Forums General Talk Dengue - What Is The Reality?

1. Posted by Psamathe (Budding Member 366 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

For the last few years the world has been focused on Covid. But over the same period there appears to have been massive increases in the numbers of Dengue cases across those regions where it is endemic. Yet there does not seem to have been much reported on this so I do wonder what the reality is. Google shows a few WHO reports a couple of articles but for a disease of such major impact I felt not a lot being reported. Lots of reports of increases in case numbers and the countries that have most cases but I found nothing giving rates (cases per population) - bit like comparing Luxembourg to China.

Travel "guidance" (from official sources) seems unchanged in that they just recommend the standard mosquito avoidance. Details vary in minor ways (e.g. some say bed nets are ineffective as infected species of mosquitos don't bite during hours you are in bed, other sites include bed nets - but that is all minor detail).

How bad is the spread?

Are the increased infections amongst locals or are travellers now at greater risk (one assumes there are now more infected mosquitos)?

Do e.g. insect repellant and long sleeves really provide much protection? (I assume residents cannot keep themselves covered in insect repellant 24/7/52/...)?

Has Covid just made one focus more on infectious diseases? (mainly in relation to travel)

And probably loads of other aspects?

Great that a new and looking effective vaccine is getting approvals (but not for anybody over 45 years old). Great that trials of Wolbachia are looking good. But both are in their early days and I'd expect it to be some time before they start having significant impact.

Any knowledge/thoughts/insights?


2. Posted by GraemeBots (Budding Member 11 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

An interesting topic !

Although dengue fever is not an issue in Botswana it is something I have to think about whenever I visit neighbouring countries. Yes, it is great that there is a promising vaccine on the horizon. I will certainly line up to take it once it is available. But I also won't be relaxing my anti-mosquito measures, since dengue is not the only thing that African mosquitoes might be carrying. I'm not that keen to contract malaria or elephantiasis either.

Do the traditional anti mosquito measures work ? You bet they do. Botswana has nearly eliminated malaria, mostly due to the ready availability of long life insecticidal treated bed nets. I sleep under one of these every night during the rainy season. I don't bother about long sleeved shirts and long trousers in the evenings since citronella oil is a cheap and effective repellent for the local mosquito species. I spray the interior walls of our house with cypermethrin every 6 weeks during the rainy season as well to eliminate daytime resting spots for the mosquitoes.

When traveling a can of fly spray, a bottle of citronella oil and a mosquito proof tent or net always go along. So far so good, even on the Congolese border.

It's disappointing that dengue fever is on the rise. But this shouldn't be a concern for travelers. Anyone who can afford an airfare can afford some repellent and a treated bed net. No vaccine is going to be 100% effective anyway - it will always be better not to be bitten. And being bitten really is optional.


3. Posted by karazyal (Travel Guru 4783 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

"For the last few years the world has been focused on Covid."

Yes indeed! And it has been very profitable for "Big Pharma" to come up with new vaccines for "newly discovered" strains of Covid. Also profitable for politicians who mandate a new shot requirement to "save the people of the world" from total annihilation. Covid has better PR than Dengue Fever.

Old fart retired person now. The first time I was aware of Dengue was when I was a kid reading novels on WWII. Dengue has been around a long time.

I have been reading more about Dengue in Thailand than 20 years ago.

4. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1870 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Since Dengue never became pandemic it will never have the PR that Covid has. It also doesn't help that it effects mostly poorer countries, even Covid wasn't taken seriously till it started infecting Europe

At the end of the day mosquitoes carry way more diseases than Dengue so avoiding being bitten is just good health practice in general.

In my experience mosquito bite protection does work. If you are looking for repellent you need to look for one of three active ingredients:
Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus (not to be confused with Lemon Eucalyptus oil which is a different product)

I use the last one, I find it very effective though you do have to respray every 4 hrs but I found it performed really well in tropic conditions and it also prevents other biting insects like ticks and midges.

I definitely found loose long sleeve clothing to be good at avoiding bites, even thick jeans if they hug the legs mosquitoes can bite through. And nets were alright but they don't always fit perfectly to every sleeping arrangement. Avoiding all bites is impossible but if you can reduce them then your chances of being bitten by an infected mosquito will reduce and that is the best you can hope for.

5. Posted by AndyF (Moderator 2733 posts) 4w Star this if you like it!

Do you mean Deet rather than DDT? I thought DDT was banned decades ago.

6. Posted by Teoni (Travel Guru 1870 posts) 4w 1 Star this if you like it!

Quoting AndyF

Do you mean Deet rather than DDT? I thought DDT was banned decades ago.

whoops that was a big mistake yes I mean DEET. The other stuff probably kills mozzies too but not worth the side effects