Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.
Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.
Dengue fever can be prevented by stopping mosquitoes from biting because they
are the vectors the dengue viruses require for transfer to humans. The CDC
(2010) has supplied these general rules to prevent transfer of viruses and other
pathogens by mosquitoes and other biting vectors:
Avoid outbreaks: To the
extent possible, travelers should avoid known foci of epidemic disease
transmission. The CDC Travelers' Health web page provides alerts and information
on regional disease transmission patterns and outbreak alerts (http://www.cdc.gov/travel).
Be aware of peak exposure times and places: Exposure to arthropod bites may be
reduced if travelers modify their patterns of activity or behavior. Although
mosquitoes may bite at any time of day, peak biting activity for vectors of some
diseases (for example, dengue, chikungunya) is during daylight hours. Vectors of other
diseases (for example, malaria) are most active in twilight periods (for example, dawn and
dusk) or in the evening after dark. Avoiding the outdoors or focusing preventive
actions during peak hours may reduce risk. Place also matters; ticks are often
found in grasses and other vegetated areas. Local health officials or guides may
be able to point out areas with greater arthropod activity.
clothing: Travelers can minimize areas of exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved
shirts, long pants, boots, and hats. Tucking in shirts and wearing socks and
closed shoes instead of sandals may reduce risk. Repellents or insecticides such
as permethrin (Elimite) can be applied to clothing and gear for added protection; this
measure is discussed in detail below.
Check for ticks: Travelers should be
advised to inspect themselves and their clothing for ticks during outdoor
activity and at the end of the day. Prompt removal of attached ticks can prevent
Bed nets: When accommodations are not adequately screened or
air conditioned, bed nets are essential to provide protection and to reduce
discomfort caused by biting insects. If bed nets do not reach the floor, they
should be tucked under mattresses. Bed nets are most effective when they are
treated with an insecticide or repellent such as permethrin. Pretreated,
long-lasting bed nets can be purchased prior to traveling, or nets can be
treated after purchase. The permethrin will be effective for several months if
the bed net is not washed. (Long-lasting pretreated nets may be effective for
Insecticides: Aerosol insecticides, vaporizing mats, and mosquito
coils can help to clear rooms or areas of mosquitoes; however, some products
available internationally may contain pesticides that are not registered in the
United States. Insecticides should always be used with caution, avoiding direct
inhalation of spray or smoke.
Optimum protection can be provided by applying
The CDC recommends insect repellent should contain up to 50% DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide)
which is the most effective mosquito repellent for adults and children over 2
months of age.
There are no vaccines currently available commercially for dengue
virus serovars. However, researchers are actively trying to produce vaccines
that will protect people from all dengue viral serovars.
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