According to the report of the preventive medicine department, 36 000 people in Vietnam have been affected by Dengue fever since the beginning of the year, and at least ten people died from it. Dengue occurs year-round in Vietnam, with peak transmission in the warmer rainy season, April through October in the north and June through December in the south. Elevated risk occurs throughout the Red River Delta and Mekong Delta, and the coastal district and provincial capitals of central Vietnam.
Dengue is caused by a viral infection coming from four types of viruses (DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, DENV-4). The viruses are transmitted by the bite of infected female mosquitoes Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus that feed both outdoors and indoor during the daytime.
People get ill between 4 to 7 days after being bitten. The symptom looks like the flu symptoms, including a sudden high fever coming in separate waves, pain in the muscles and bones, pain behind the eyes, severe headache, skin rash with red spots. In some cases, Dengue infection may also be asymptomatic, with people not exhibiting symptoms. Treatment includes only supportive care, and there is no antiviral treatment available.
The illness may sometimes progress to Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) with symptoms like severe diarrhea, abdominal pain, convulsion, vomiting, bruising, and uncontrolled bleeding with a high fever who can last from 2 to 7 days. Complications can lead to circulatory system failure and shock, and can be fatal (also known as Dengue Shock Syndrome).
If you are infected already with the same Dengue virus serotype, you become immune to future infections. However, if you are infected subsequently with a different serotype, immunity wanes over time which increases the risk of developing Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever.
Take measures to prevent mosquito bites during the daytime.
Use a repellent containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin on exposed skin and re-apply frequently.
Wear neutral-colored as white and beige and if possible, wear long-sleeved.
Pre-soak or spray outer layer clothing.
Don’t keep water containers around and make sure doors and windows close properly.
Apply sunscreen first followed by the repellent (preferably 20 minutes later).
A vaccine is available for people living in some Dengue endemic countries but is not yet commercially available in Vietnam.