Dengue Fever in UK 2024 | Symptoms & Prevention in UK

Dengue Fever in UK 2024 | Symptoms & Prevention in UK

Dengue Fever in United Kingdon 2024

Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which belongs to four different types or serogroups. The virus is primarily transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes, particularly species of the Aedes genus, such as Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These mosquitoes are most active during daylight hours and typically breed in urban and semi-urban areas close to human habitation.

In the UK, dengue does not occur naturally but is imported by travellers who have visited regions where the disease is endemic, such as parts of Asia, the Americas (including the Caribbean), Africa, and the Pacific Islands. The number of reported cases among UK travellers returning from these regions has been increasing, with 634 cases reported in 2023.

CauseDengue virus (four serogroups)
TransmissionBite of an infected mosquito (urban areas, daylight hours)
PrevalenceCommon in the tropics (Caribbean, South and Central America, Africa, Asia, Pacific Islands); increasing outbreaks outside tropical areas, including Europe
UK Dengue Cases (2023)634 cases among returning travellers
Primary Source RegionsSouthern and South-Eastern Asia (particularly India), Central America, and the Caribbean
Global Outbreak RegionsAmericas (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Colombia)
Total Global Cases (2024)10 million cases reported across 80 countries
Global Fatalities (2024)Over 5,000 fatalities
Symptoms of Dengue FeverSudden high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, joint and muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, swollen glands, rash (3-4 days after fever starts)
Severe Dengue SymptomsDangerously low blood pressure (shock), fluid build-up in the lungs, severe bleeding
Travel Risk FactorsDestination, length of exposure, season of travel, intense mosquito feeding activity (dawn, early evening)
PreventionMosquito bite avoidance, especially during the day; new vaccine Qdenga® licensed in the UK for individuals from 4 years of age (recommendations pending)
Concern in EuropeIncrease in imported cases and potential for local transmission due to competent vectors
UK ContextDengue does not occur naturally in the UK; it is a travel-associated infection, with increasing cases among travellers visiting Asia, the Americas, and the Caribbean

Symptoms of Dengue Fever in UK 2024

In the UK, dengue fever primarily affects travellers returning from regions where the virus is endemic. Here are the symptoms typically observed:

  • High Fever: Sudden onset of high fever, often reaching up to 104°F (40°C).
  • Severe Headache: Intense, throbbing headaches that can persist throughout the illness.
  • Muscle and Joint Pain: Severe muscle and joint pain, often referred to as “break bone fever”.
  • Pain Behind the Eyes: Pain and discomfort behind the eyes, exacerbated by eye movements.
  • Nausea and Vomiting: Persistent feelings of nausea, sometimes leading to vomiting.
  • Rash: Appearance of a rash on the skin, typically starting on the arms and legs and spreading across the body. The rash may be accompanied by itching.

These symptoms usually appear 4–10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and can last for several days to a week. Most cases of dengue fever in travellers are self-limiting, with symptoms gradually improving over time. However, it’s important to seek medical attention if symptoms worsen or if signs of severe dengue, such as severe abdominal pain, persistent vomiting, bleeding gums, or difficulty breathing, develop.

Prevention of Dengue Fever in UK 2024

In 2024, prevention of dengue fever in the UK primarily focuses on measures for travellers returning from endemic regions. Here are the key prevention strategies:

  • Mosquito Bite Prevention:
    • Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus.
    • Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks treated with permethrin.
    • Use mosquito nets or screens on windows and doors.
    • Stay in accommodations with air conditioning or use mosquito nets over beds if sleeping outdoors.
  • Awareness and Education:
    • Educate travellers about the risk of dengue in endemic areas and preventive measures.
    • Encourage travellers to check for current outbreaks and dengue risk at their destination through reliable sources.
  • Vaccine (Qdenga®):
    • As of January 2023, a new vaccine named Qdenga® has been licensed in the UK for the prevention of dengue in individuals aged four and older.
    • The Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) is reviewing the vaccine’s product information to provide recommendations on its use.
  • Healthcare Seekers:
    • Must are symptoms High Headaches Joint persistent