Health officials in Vietnam are reporting a significant increase in dengue fever during the first seven months of the year. Through July, some 45,000 cases have been reported, including 14 deaths.

Aedes aegypti/CDC
Aedes aegypti/CDC

Infections were recorded in 46 out of 63 cities and provinces, according to the health ministry.

During the same period in 2015, Vietnam had seen 21,154 cases of dengue including 12 deaths. In all of 2015, the country saw  97,476 cases of dengue, including 61 deaths, reported in 54 out of 63 provinces in Viet Nam.

Health experts said the increase in the number of dengue cases is due to hot weather conditions caused by an unusually strong El Nino.

Dengue is a viral infection transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. There are four closely related but antigenically different serotypes of the virus that can cause dengue (DEN1, DEN 2, DEN 3, DEN 4).

  • Dengue Fever (DF) – marked by an onset of sudden high fever, severe headache, pain behind the eyes, and pain in muscles and joints. Some may also have a rash and varying degree of bleeding from various parts of the body (including nose, mouth and gums or skin bruising).Dengue has a wide spectrum of infection outcome (asymptomatic to symptomatic). Symptomatic illness can vary from dengue fever (DF) to the more serious dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF).
  • Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF) – is a more severe form, seen only in a small proportion of those infected. DHF is a stereotypic illness characterized by 3 phases; febrile phase with high continuous fever usually lasting for less than 7 days; critical phase (plasma leaking) lasting 1-2 days usually apparent when fever comes down, leading to shock if not detected and treated early; convalescence phase lasting 2-5 days with improvement of appetite, bradycardia (slow heart rate), convalescent rash (white patches in red background), often accompanied by generalized itching (more intense in palms and soles), and diuresis (increase urine output).
  • Dengue Shock Syndrome (DSS) — Shock syndrome is a dangerous complication of dengue infection and is associated with high mortality. Severe dengue occurs as a result of secondary infection with a different virus serotype. Increased vascular permeability, together with myocardial dysfunction and dehydration, contribute to the development of shock, with resultant multiorgan failure.

There is no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection, only treat the symptoms.

There is a dengue fever vaccine on the market, Dengvaxia; however, to date only 5 countries have approved it’s use and only the Philippines, the first country in Asia to approve it, is actually using it.