Those of you that have been following our blog during our voyage through Indonesia know that I got sick not long after we arrived there in early August. We didn’t know what was going on, only that I could barely function for 2 weeks, lost 22 pounds of body-weight and felt like crap for the next month. Since we were in remote Indonesia with no access to medical care, we couldn’t determine what it was.
The symptoms were consistent with dengue fever (a mosquito born virus), but since we were in a supposedly “low dengue risk” area of Indonesia during the dry season, I was a bit skeptical that it was actually dengue. During the passage from Bali to Singapore I got pretty hot and dehydrated, and had a return of some of the symptoms, so I decided to get some blood tests done when we got back to Brisbane. The results confirmed that I did indeed have dengue fever. Full recovery is typical with dengue (unlike malaria which can be recurring) but according to other people I have met who have had it, it can take a year before you feel completely over it.
I didn’t know much about dengue before we left Australia and since it is such a brutal virus that kills 5% of the people that get it, I thought I would alert folks that might be traveling to SE Asia, that it is a big issue there, and is on the rise, so be really careful! The best resource I found about the disease is here: http://www.eliminatedengue.com/
Here are a few recent news reports from around the region on dengue outbreaks:
In the 2013 dengue outbreak in Singapore, a significant rise in the number of dengue fever cases was reported in Singapore. In the week of 16 – 22 June 2013, there was a record of 842 dengue cases in Singapore in a single week. This figure was far beyond the highest number of cases per week in the years 2010, 2011 and 2012.
Dengue fever has surged in the central Philippines, infecting more than 1,800 people and killing at least ten, a provincial official said Saturday. The number of people struck down by the mosquito-borne disease this year is already 71 percent higher than the same period last year and dengue fatalities in the first half of 2013 were already equal to the total deaths for the whole of 2012.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Dengue fever has killed 45 people in Malaysia this year – a jump of more than a third from same period last year — as the tropical country struggles to tame a mosquito-borne virus outbreak that has plagued the Southeast Asian region for decades.
BANGKOK, Thailand—Southeast Asia is scrambling to combat a deadly outbreak of dengue fever, the tropical illness transmitted by mosquitoes, which has hit parts of the region especially hard. The rise in death tolls in Thailand and neighboring Laos is of concern to health experts. Already 94 have died in Thailand, tripling the 32 who died there in the first seven months of last year. Meanwhile, in Laos, 76 have died, up from only three reported in the first six months of last year.
DENGUE fever cases have risen tenfold in Victoria, Australia in the past five years, prompting a warning for travellers to be vigilant against the virus. State Health Department figures show 55 confirmed cases of dengue fever so far this year, up from five in 2006. Victorian cases were mostly in adults returning from tourist destinations such as Thailand, Bali, Vietnam and Fiji, with many unaware they were at risk.