A woman from Niigata Prefecture, on the west coast of Japan’s Honshu island, has died from dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF) after contracting the mosquito borne viral disease in the Philippines, according to the Japan Health Ministry (computer translated).


This was the first dengue related death recorded in Japan since 2005.

The woman in her 30s traveled to the Philippines from June 29 to July 15. Upon return to Japan, she saw her doctor and was subsequently admitted to the hospital with symptoms of rash, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding. She passed away on July 21.

Related: Traveling to the Philippines: preventing infection

Laboratory testing confirmed she was positive for the dengue strain, DENV-3.

Japan has seen 173 imported dengue fever cases so far in 2016. In 2014, Japan saw an outbreak of 162 autochthonous, or locally transmitted dengue fever in 2014, the first such cases in Japan in seven decades.

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).