Dengue Fever vaccination

INTRODUCTION

Dengue fever is a prevalent mosquito-borne disease that affects millions of people worldwide. While there is no specific treatment for this viral infection, prevention through vaccination can play a critical role in reducing its spread and severity. In this blog post, we will delve into the various aspects of dengue fever vaccination, its benefits, and why you should consider getting vaccinated.

UNDERSTANDING DENGUE FEVER

Dengue fever is caused by the dengue virus, which is primarily transmitted by the Aedes mosquito. Symptoms include high fever, severe joint and muscle pain, rash, headache, and in some cases, can lead to severe dengue, a potentially life-threatening condition. With no specific treatment available, timely prevention becomes crucial.

THE IMPORTANCE OF VACCINATION

Vaccination is currently one of the most effective strategies to prevent dengue fever. It helps to boost your immune system and enables your body to fight off the virus more efficiently. By getting vaccinated, you not only protect yourself but also contribute to the overall reduction of dengue transmission within your community.

DENGUE FEVER VACCINATION

Qdenga is the only dengue vaccine approved for use in individuals regardless of previous dengue exposure.

Early onset of protection is around 81.1% against dengue caused by all serotypes combined from first vaccination until second vaccination.  The second dose is required to achieve long term protection.

Official insert of the only UK dengue vaccine (Qdenga): https://www.medicines.org.uk/emc/files/pil.14663.pdf

When compared to other diseases that travellers are regularly vaccinated against, there may be a higher risk of contracting dengue.

The burden of dengue has become heavier dramatically in the past 30 years and it occurs mostly in urban and semi-urban areas.

Travellers who spend long periods in endemic areas are at increased risk. However, even short-term visitors may be exposed.

Individuals with dengue should wait around 6 months after the date the dengue illness is confirmed by a test to begin the Qdenga vaccine series.

WHO SHOULD GET VACCINATED?

Dengue fever vaccination is recommended for individuals living in or traveling to dengue-endemic regions. This includes tropical and subtropical areas where dengue is prevalent. 

List of countries with dengue risk: https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/areaswithrisk/around-the-world.html

Dengue Map – Up-to-date information on areas where dengue has recently been reported: 

https://www.healthmap.org/dengue/en/

THE BENEFITS OF DENGUE FEVER VACCINATION

a. Protection: Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of contracting dengue and potentially severe forms of the disease.

b. Public Health Impact: Widespread vaccination can lead to a decrease in dengue transmission within communities, protecting vulnerable populations, including infants and the elderly.

c. Travel Security: If you plan to travel to dengue-prone regions, getting vaccinated ensures extra protection and peace of mind.

VACCINATION INFORMATION

Dosage Schedule:

The course involves two doses, which must be at least 3 months apart (for complicated immunological reasons).  

Vaccine suitability:

It is a live vaccine, so not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for those who are severely immunocompromised.  If in doubt about this, please contact us to discuss further.

A single dose before travel should always protect against DENV-2, and the other types to a lesser extent, but the protection against DENV-1, DENV-3 and DENV-4 may wane quicker with just one dose.  

However, if your trip is shorter than 3 months, you could always have the second dose on your return for more complete and longer term protection.

Number of doses for the primary course:

2

Minimum dose intervals:

3 months (majority of protection comes from the 1st dose).

Age:

4 years of age and above

When a booster dose given (in years):

Not yet established – should be effective for at least around 5 years after 2 doses.

SUMMARY

As the incidence of dengue fever continues to rise globally, vaccination remains a crucial step in preventing the disease’s spread. By taking proactive measures, such as getting vaccinated, we can collectively combat this mosquito-borne illness and protect ourselves, our loved ones, and our communities. Remember, when it comes to dengue prevention, knowledge and action go hand in hand.

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