Dengue fever is prevalent in many places, and you should be up-to-date on news about dengue and how to prevent yourself from bitten even if you are not in a seriously affected area. This section tells you about how to monitor the dengue situation, what to bring, and what to do when you are overseas in an area with known cases of dengue.
Monitoring the Dengue Situation
It is very convenient to monitor the current worldwide situation of dengue fever. Urgent news will be available on any newspaper, printed or electronic, and the BBC World Service is also an excellent source of up-to-date news and its programs will be interrupted by breaking news.
For special information on dengue, you can try the sites of the World Heath Organization
or the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevent Yourself from Being Bitten
The best way to prevent dengue fever is by preventing yourself from getting bitten in the first place. Unfortunately, there is no fail-safe method to do so.
When outdoors in a known dengue area, you should use a mosquito repellent containing DEET, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus and dress in protective clothing - long-sleeved shirts, long pants (preferably track pants), socks, and shoes. Cover the unprotected areas of your body with mosquito repellent, except for parts like the face and palms of your hand where you may get the mosquito repellent into your eyes or mouth accidentally. However, please note that there have been concerns raised about the safety of DEET in mosquito repellent. For children, it is recommended to have a DEET concentration of less than 35% while for adults a stronger concentration can be used, which allows for extended protection.
When indoors in a non-air-conditioned area, you can prevent mosquitoes bites by keeping unscreened doors and windows closed, by ensuring there are no defects in screen doors and windows, and by removing possible breeding areas for mosquitoes. Remember, the Stegomyia aegypti is able to breed in areas of stagnant water as small as a credit card.
Common urban myths like electrical buzzers and garlic are not very effective in the prevention of mosquitoes entering the house.