In Honduras in Central America, there has been a sharp increase in dengue fever cases in the last month, many of which have reportedly been in the category of severe dengue. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that has no specific treatment; it is therefore important that travellers to areas where the infection is found try to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Symptoms tend to develop suddenly four to 10 days after being infected, with symptoms including fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, feeling sick and loss of appetite.
In Honduras, six departments – Cortés, Tegucigalpa, Yoro, Atlántida, Olancho and Comayagua – have been hit hardest following recent rains. It has been reported that the rainy season reactivated a series of hatcheries, leading to new mosquito populations. According to the Ministry of Health, there has been an increase of 1,000 dengue cases during the last four weeks.
In order to reduce the risk of being bitten, travellers can use insect repellent, wear loose but protective clothing, sleep under a mosquito net and be aware of their environment. In addition, they can speak to their general practitioner before travelling to get specific advice about what they can do to avoid dengue and other travel illnesses.