CDC: Travelers to Haiti at Risk for Dengue Virus Infections

Report reveals 25 percent of travelers returned to U.S. with evidence of recent infection

THURSDAY, July 14 (HealthDay News) -- Travelers to Haiti may be at risk for infection with the mosquito-transmitted dengue virus (DENV), according to a report in the July 15 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC conducted a retrospective cohort study to assess pre-travel dengue knowledge and mosquito-avoidance practices of those with and without laboratory-confirmed infection.

The report revealed that seven of 28 travelers (25 percent) who visited Haiti for seven to 11 days had laboratory evidence of recent infection with DENV upon return to the United States. The data also revealed that 90 percent of the cohort had a pre-travel health care appointment, 57 percent looked for travel advice on the Internet, and 24 percent used mosquito repellent several times a day. However, pre-travel knowledge or mosquito-avoidance practices were not significantly associated with absence of DENV infection.

"All travelers to Haiti should seek pre-travel health counseling, preferably four to six weeks before travel, receive information about risks for DENV infection, and employ recommended mosquito-avoidance practices," the authors write. "Clinicians evaluating travelers with febrile illness who recently have returned from Haiti or other DENV-endemic areas are encouraged to consider dengue in their differential diagnosis, submit specimens for laboratory testing, and report cases of dengue expeditiously to local or state health departments."

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