Williamson County and Cities Health District
Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. There are not yet any vaccines to prevent infection with dengue virus and the most effective protective measures are those that avoid mosquito bites. When infected, early recognition and prompt supportive treatment can substantially lower the risk of medical complications and death.
Dengue has emerged as a worldwide problem only since the 1950s. Although dengue rarely occurs in the continental United States, it is endemic in Puerto Rico and in many popular tourist destinations in Latin America, Southeast Asia and the Pacific islands.
- No vaccine exists to prevent dengue.
- Prevent dengue by avoiding mosquito bites (see below).
- Mosquitoes that spread dengue virus bite mostly during the daytime.
How to reduce your risk of dengue infection:
There is no vaccine available against dengue, and there are no specific medications to treat a dengue infection. This makes prevention the most important step, and prevention means avoiding mosquito bites if you live in or travel to an endemic area.
The best way to reduce mosquitoes is to eliminate the places where the mosquito lays her eggs, like artificial containers that hold water in and around the home. Outdoors, clean water containers like pet and animal watering containers, flower planter dishes or cover water storage barrels. Look for standing water indoors such as in vases with fresh flowers and clean at least once a week.
The adult mosquitoes like to bite inside as well as around homes, during the day and at night when the lights are on. To protect yourself, use repellent on your skin while indoors or out. When possible, wear long sleeves and pants for additional protection. Also, make sure window and door screens are secure and without holes. If available, use air-conditioning.
If someone in your house is ill with dengue, take extra precautions to prevent mosquitoes from biting the patient and going on to bite others in the household. Sleep under a mosquito bed net, eliminate mosquitoes you find indoors and wear repellent!