IS there any real great risk of contracting dengue fever in Thailand or is it very rare? I saw a few articles on the internet saying that there were a decent amount of cases this year but know that most articles just get you overly worried. If so where are areas that precautions need to be taken in and should I be very concerned about this or just travel normally?
#1 cmz11 has been a member since 23/7/2008. Posts: 4
Millions of tourists go to Thailand each year and don't catch Dengue so the answer to your question "should I be very concerned about this?" is no.
This said, there have been reports that the number of dengue cases is higher than usual this year. Dengue is more common during the rainy season and in urban areas but I know people who have caught it on the islands too, mostly expats.
The more often you get bitten the higher the likelihood of catching the disease so your best best is to use mozzie repellents containing DEET. The species of mosquito which carries dengue feeds during the day and ALL mosquito species seem to be particularly voracious around dusk and dawn!
SBE is right. The species that carries the virus is a day-biter and is most active 1-2 hours after sunrise, and for a few hours before sunset. I find that these are the little bastards that attack your legs beneath tables. If there's a bright side to this, Aedes albopictus is not a very good vector of the virus.
Regardless, Dengue is endemic in most Asian countries and it's never a bad idea to do what one can to avoid being bitten.
And for what it's worth, a good friend from Germany acquired the disease while in Laos and suffered with it for a very long time. Years, in fact. He now has immunity from that particular serotype, but there are several serotypes.
Ok thanks for your information. So pretty much as long as I use repellent with DEET and cover up I should be fine. Are there however any areas particularly notorious to catch this in?
#5 cmz11 has been a member since 23/7/2008. Posts: 4
Bangkok has the highest number of cases. There was an article about it yesterday in the Nation.
So happens I've been doing a bit of amateur research on Dengue today. Found two interesting findings which I've never seen mentioned before:
1. Seems my assumption that more mozzies=higher risk might be wrong. Very counter-intuitive results found in this study.
2. People with the AB blood group are more likely to get the severe form of Dengue if they catch it a second time.
One of the best ways to keep of fever carried by mozzies is keep off the mozzies. Make sure you have a mozzie net when in guesthouses where there could be a mozzie problem. Use that net properly by draping it over the entire bed. Use a repellant with DEET. Wear loose fitting clothing that covers you completely, like a pair of fishermans pants. These can be purchased cheaply at a market in Thailand. Fishermans pants are parachute pants.
#8 mic59 has been a member since 30/7/2008. Posts: 107
"One of the best ways to keep of fever carried by mozzies is keep off the mozzies"
Actually it's the ONLY way to avoid Dengue at the moment. There is no preventative medication and there's no specific treatment available yet either....well actually there is, but since last year the WHO and CDC have severely restricted sales of a very useful and safe drug for reasons best known to themselves (and big US pharmaceutical companies perhaps).
The drug in question comes from a herb that has been used by the Chinese to treat Malaria for over 2000 years. Studies have shown it's also effective against Dengue. It grows like a weed and impoverished people from Africa etc could grow their own cures if the powers that be would let them.
But as it's the most promising anti malarial we have at the moment, and there's no US patent (yet) millions of people will die ... Even when the pills become available the people who need them most won't be able to afford to buy them.
Avoidance is the only thing to do. Dress in light long sleeved/legged clothing at appropriate times, clear the room with coils or spray, use a DEET rellent.
Dengue - Thailand – 2008 - http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=78586
THAILAND: Dengue fever "crisis" looms
The 'Aedes aegypti' mosquito which is the carrier of dengue fever
BANGKOK, 5 June 2008 (IRIN) - Rising temperatures, longer rainy seasons and increased urbanisation are leading to an explosion of dengue fever cases in Thailand in what health officials are calling a near-crisis situation.
#10 khunwilko has been a member since 27/1/2007. Posts: 560
i actually got dengue fever 20 years ago in thailand (on koh samui) so it does happen to farangs. that said i've been back about 20 times since and never got it again so its not worth getting overly worried about it. i've never been a favourite of the mossies (too hairy perhaps) so it wasn't like i got savaged or anything. got bit by a scorpion last time too. going there next week so maybe i'll try for snake bite and claim a hat trick!
#11 bear64 has been a member since 8/6/2007. Posts: 1