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Dengue Vaccinations

About Dengue

Dengue, also known as dengue fever, is an infection spread by mosquitoes. It is not usually serious and often gets better on its own. Some people get a more severe type of dengue, but this is rare. The chance of contracting dengue is determined by several factors, including destination, length of exposure and season of travel. The risk is thought to be higher during periods of intense mosquito feeding activity (two to three hours after dawn and during the early evening.) Travellers who spend long periods in areas where dengue is common are at increased risk but even short-term visitors can be infected.

Dengue is very common in certain parts of the world. It is often found in tropical areas including:

  • parts of Africa and Asia
  • Central and South America
  • the Caribbean
  • the Pacific islands
  • some southern areas of North America.

There is also a risk of getting dengue at certain times of the year (spring to November) in parts of southern Europe. European countries where dengue has been found include:

  • Croatia
  • France
  • Italy
  • Spain
  • Portugal and Madeira

Dengue is not found in the UK and you cannot catch it from another person.

Symptoms of dengue

Dengue does not always cause symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they usually start 4 to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

Some dengue symptoms are similar to flu. They include:

  • a high temperature
  • a severe headache
  • pain behind your eyes
  • muscle and joint pain
  • feeling or being sick
  • swollen glands
  • a blotchy rash made up of flat or slightly raised spots – this can affect large areas of your body.

Some people get a more severe type of dengue a few days after they first started feeling ill, but this is rare. You may start to feel better with your temperature returning to normal, but about 24 to 48 hours later you may get more serious symptoms. If left untreated, severe dengue illness can be fatal.

Symptoms of severe dengue include:

  • severe tummy pain
  • repeatedly being sick
  • fast breathing
  • bleeding gums or nose
  • extreme tiredness (fatigue)
  • being unable to relax (restlessness)
  • blood in your vomit or poo.

Dengue vaccinations

Qdenga is a live vaccine available in the UK to protect against all four dengue virus serotypes. Two doses of the vaccine are given three months apart from each other. 

Qdenga is licenced for those over four years but a recent announcement from JCVI no longer supports the licenced indication due to insufficient data to rule out the risk of severe dengue fever in those who have not previously experienced dengue fever. 

Therefore, a patient must have had a clinically confirmed case of dengue fever for vaccination to be considered (updated 28/03/20204). 

If you are in a country where dengue is found, the best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes, particularly around dawn and dusk.

Treatment

Most people with dengue feel better in a few days. There is no treatment for dengue but you can help ease your symptoms by:

  • resting
  • drinking plenty of fluids
  • taking paracetamol to help bring down your temperature and ease any pain
  • Do not take anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen or aspirin. These can cause bleeding problems if you have dengue.

If you have severe dengue, you will need to stay in hospital until you recover.

Book private Dengue vaccinations here.