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Saturday, June 19, 2010

CIDRAP : More US travelers bringing dengue virus home

Via Cidrap :

" Jun 17, 2010 : The number of dengue virus infections detected in returning US travelers has risen sharply in recent years, probably reflecting both larger epidemics abroad and increased monitoring at home, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported today.

An average of 244 confirmed and probable travel-related dengue cases were identified annually by CDC surveillance systems from 2006 through 2008, compared with only 33.5 cases annually between 1990 and 2005, the CDC said in the Jun 18 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

Most of the increase probably resulted from the 2003 addition of dengue reporting to the CDC's ArboNET surveillance system, which supplements an older system maintained by the CDC Dengue Branch (CDCDB), the agency said. But it said the rising tide also reflects "substantial increases in dengue incidence throughout subtropical and tropical areas of the world, including the Americas."

Reports of US dengue cases may continue to increase, since, as the report noted, the CDC added the mosquito-borne disease to the list of nationally notifiable diseases in January.

Travelers who come home with dengue infections could trigger localized outbreaks if they are bitten by Aedes species of mosquitoes while carrying the virus, the CDC said. Such species, mainly Ae aegypti and Ae albopictus, are endemic in some southeastern areas of the country.

Dengue is caused by four related viruses (dengue types 1-4). The main symptoms include fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding (such as from the nose and gums), according to the CDC.

A more severe form of the disease is dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can lead to circulatory failure and death. However, many dengue infections cause no or only mild symptoms. No vaccine or specific treatment is available."

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