Cases of dengue fever in UK on the rise

Cases of travellers returning to the UK with dengue fever have ­almost tripled in the past year, new public health body Public Health England has warned.

The organisation, which took over responsibility for public health in England from April, has seen an almost three-fold increase in the number of dengue fever cases in returning travellers between January and April this year compared with the same period last year.

To the end of April 2013, there were 141 confirmed and probable cases of dengue fever, compared with 51 cases during the same ­period in 2012.

In 2011, the annual number of cases was 223, with 343 reported in 2012 – an increase of 54%, it added.

Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquito bites and is common in tropical and subtropical parts of the world, affecting around 100 countries. The symptoms are typically a flu-like illness with severe headache, muscle pain and a rash. It cannot be spread from person to person and is rarely fatal.

While there is no specific treatment, in most people the symptoms can be managed by taking paracetamol, drinking plenty of fluids and resting, it added.

In a separate development, the organisation has reminded people to be “tick aware” this summer. It has published new leaflets advising the public on how to prevent tick bites and about the risk of contracting Lyme disease.

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