Health

Dengue fever cases 'double in UK'

Mosquito
Image caption Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes.

The number of people bringing dengue fever back to the UK from tropical countries has doubled, according to the Health Protection Agency (HPA).

In 2009 there were 166 cases; a year later there were 406.

The illness, which can be fatal, results in fever, muscle pain, headache and a rash.

It is transmitted by mosquitoes so the HPA recommends travellers take more precautions to prevent themselves being bitten.

Dengue fever is common in tropical and sub-tropical countries. The World Health Organization believes there are 50 million cases each year.

In the UK, HPA figures show 21% of cases were linked to visits to India and 15% with Thailand.

Dr Jane Jones, head of the HPA's travel and migrant health section, said there was no drug treatment for dengue fever.

"To minimise the risk of being bitten it is advisable to wear appropriate clothing to cover up - such as long sleeve tops and trousers - and use insect repellents," she said.

Insects which carry malaria tend to be active at night, while those carrying dengue are active in the day.

Dr Jones said that in areas where both illnesses are present "protection against mosquito bites should be used around the clock, including the use of mosquito nets at night".

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