The risk of developing Dengue fever is variable depending on the season, but generally highest in the rainy season. If there are still floods, the brackish water remains in countless puddles and thus provides ideal breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that transmit the virus. Dengue fever occurs in more than 100 tropical and subtropical countries outside Europe.
The World Health Organization estimates the number of diseases worldwide at about 50 million annually. Several hundred thousand diseases are in the severe, hemorrhagic (bloody) form, in which about 20, 000 people die each year. The disease, against which there is no approved vaccine in Germany, is caused by the dengue virus of the genus Flavivirus and transmitted by mosquitoes.
Flu or dengue?
The symptoms of classic dengue fever are similar to those of flu: sudden fever to 40 ° C with chills, severe headache and body aches. Even a rash on the skin, which is spread over the whole body except for the face, is possible. Because the disease breaks out 3 to 14 days after infection, travelers who get flu-like symptoms after returning from vacation should contact a doctor immediately.
Within the first 3 to 7 days of illness, the virus itself can be detected, after which specific antibodies can be detected in the blood. In addition to the classic form of dengue fever, there is also an atypical, which runs a little milder and lasts a maximum of 72 hours.