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Dengue Fever Cases Rise by 60%

Health and medical experts have warned travellers about a rising tide of dengue fever cases in England, as travellers infected with the illness bring it home with them.

Last year, there were only 541 cases of dengue fever reported in people who were returning from dengue-affected countries worldwide. In 2012, there was only 343 cases, marking a 60% rise in the number of incidences in the UK over the past couple of years.

A Public Health England Spokesman said most cases of the viral fever were reported in travellers who had visited locations such as India and Thailand, but noted that there had been an increase in the number of British travellers infected travelling back to the UK from Barbados.

Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes, and symptoms include severe flu-like illness (it’s widely known as the ‘bone-breaker flu’), fever, muscle ache, bone ache, headache, rash, nausea and vomiting. There are no specific medications that can be used to treat the disease but symptoms can be managed using paracetamol and the illness clears up within two or three weeks.
Public Health England have also announced that the number of chikungunya fever cases have risen from 15 incidences in 2012 to 24 in 2013.

Chikungunya is a viral illness with similar symptoms to dengue fever, but joint pain may be a more prominent sign of the illness.

Most patients make a full recovery but in some rare cases joint pain and arthritis can persist for several months or even years.

Dr Jane Jones, the travel and migrant health expert at Public Health England said: “Dengue fever and chikungunya are unpleasant viral illnesses that are transmitted by day-biting mosquitoes. As there is no specific preventative medicine or vaccination against dengue fever or chikungunya, prevention relied on avoiding mosquito bites particularly around dusk and dawn when the day-biting mosquitos are most active.”

If you are concerned about dengue fever in your holiday destination, make sure you research where you will be staying or visiting and see if dengue fever is prevalent in these areas. Taking out good quality travel insurance which covers you for any medical expenses you may incur, through seeking medical attention abroad, is essential if you don’t want to be facing a medical bill the same price as your holiday. Holidaysafe offer medical expenses cover up to £10 million for their customers, ensuring they can focus on recovering from dengue or chikungunya and not have to worry about money.

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