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Dengue fever levels increasing

17 May 2013 09:08

Some holidaymakers came down with dengue fever after trips to Thailand

Some holidaymakers came down with dengue fever after trips to Thailand

The health risks of foreign travel were brought home to dozens of holidaymakers as numbers of people struck down with dengue fever tripled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. There were 141 confirmed and probable cases of the virus between January and April, compared to 51 in the corresponding period last year.

Those affected have gone to Barbados, Brazil, Sri Lanka and Thailand, while others have contracted the viral infection in parts of Africa, Asia and the Americas.

Public Health England said the number of cases recorded annually has also gone up - 223 in 2011, rising to 343 last year. The symptoms can be managed by taking paracetamol, drinking fluids and getting plenty of rest, but there is no specific treatment, and some people can develop complications which will require hospital treatment.

Insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing at dusk and dawn are recommended - catching out pesky mozzies at the time when they are most active. Good medical travel insurance is a must, of course - dengue fever being one issue among many for holidaymakers to insure against.

Dr Dan Jones of Public Health England said: "The increase in the numbers of people returning with dengue fever is concerning so we want to remind people of the need to practise strict mosquito bite avoidance at all times to reduce their risk of becoming unwell."