Sri Lanka is one of the latest countries to experience an alarming rise in dengue cases. Recent news out of the country has been filled with stories of dengue prevention efforts and updates on the rapid spread of the disease.

Dengue outbreaks occur in countries throughout the world on an all too frequent basis. One of the latest countries to experience an outbreak of the disease is the Philippines.

Tyler Sharp, an Epidemic Intelligence Service officer at CDC’s Dengue Breach, shared his experience as a member of the response team in an interesting two-part blog series entitled, “Real-life Contagion: Governments unite to fight dengue outbreak in Marshall Islands.” (The series was published in December 2011 shortly after the Hollywood thriller Contagion was released. The movie documented the spread of a virus and the attempts of public health officials to contain the disease. )

Last month, the Dengue Vaccine Initiative began posting daily questions and answers on its Twitter page as part of a new series called Dengue Basics.

If you are planning to travel abroad this month or in the months ahead, it is important to understand the health risks of the country you will be visiting. More than 125 million international tourists visit dengue endemic countries annually and are therefore at risk of infection, according to the World Tourism Organization of the United Nations.
Since there are no drugs available to prevent or treat dengue infection, creating awareness about the disease is an essential preventative measure that can be carried out by doctors and nurses.

By Dr. Dagna Constenla, Director of Economics & Financing at the International Vaccine Access Center at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Recent news reports about Brazil indicate rising concerns about the prevalence of dengue in the country. In mid-February, Brazil’s health minister Alexandre Padilha warned of an impending dengue epidemic due to the discovery of a new type of dengue virus (type 4) in the populous city of Rio de Janeiro.
The World Health Organization recently estimated that over 40 percent of the world’s population is now at risk for dengue, a mosquito-born viral infection that can develop into a potentially lethal complication called severe dengue. As a result, dengue has become a major international public health concern. However, dengue cases are often underreported and monitoring incidents of the disease is challenging. That’s why companies, governmental organizations and concerned citizens are coming up with innovative ways to track dengue outbreaks.

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