Dengue fever epidemic kills dozens in the Caribbean

Added 21/07/2010

First aid kit

Due to an early and particularly wet rainy season this summer, a dengue fever epidemic has spread across the Caribbean, where dozens have already been killed by the disease. Like malaria, dengue fever is spread from person to person by mosquitoes. But unlike malaria, dengue fever is a risk in urban as well as rural settings. The warm, wet weather encourages mosquitoes to breed at a faster rate, creating a more liberal spread of the disease.

The dengue fever epidemic has already claimed 27 lives in the Dominican Republic where thousands have contracted the disease. In early June, over 16,000 people caught the disease across the Caribbean. Puerto Rico has experienced the worst outbreak of dengue fever for over a decade, while hospitals in Trinidad are struggling to cope with the number of cases.

Currently, there is no vaccine for dengue fever, though medical research is getting closer to finding one. If you are going on holiday to the Caribbean, it’s important to protect yourself from mosquito bites — if you don’t get bitten, then you won’t catch the disease. At dusk when mosquitoes are at their most active, cover as much exposed skin as you can and use an insect repellent containing at least 50% DEET to keep the critters at bay. If you start to feel ill, go to the hospital immediately.

Medical treatment abroad can be expensive so it’s important to buy comprehensive travel insurance for any overseas holiday. Some medical treatment abroad can cost thousands of pounds if you don’t have travel insurance. has a range of single trip and annual travel insurance policies available, and we specialise in providing cover for travellers with pre existing medical conditions. You can also add our cruise cover extension to any of our policies if you are embarking on a Caribbean cruise.

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