PHE reports rise in dengue fever
The number of travellers coming home to England with a nasty viral illness is on the rise, new figures show.
Between 2012 and 2013, officials noted a 58% rise in the number of cases of dengue fever reported among holidaymakers on their return home.
In 2013 there were 541 cases reported in people returning from dengue-affected countries - compared to 343 in 2012, Public Health England (PHE) said.
A spokesman said that most cases were reported in travellers to India and Thailand, but officials also noted an increase in cases associated with travel to Barbados during 2013.
Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms of include a severe flu-like illness, fever, headache, muscle ache, rash, nausea and vomiting.
PHE also said the number of chikungunya fever cases have risen from 15 in 2012 to 24 in 2013.
It is a viral illness with similar symptoms to dengue fever but joint pain may be a more prominent symptom. Most patients make a full recovery but in some cases joint pain and arthritis can persist for several months or even years.
"Dengue fever and chikungunya are unpleasant viral illnesses that are transmitted by day-biting mosquitoes," said Dr Jane Jones, travel and migrant health expert at PHE.
"As there is no specific preventive medicine or vaccination against dengue fever or chikungunya, prevention relies on avoiding mosquito bites particularly around dusk and dawn when the day biting mosquitoes are most active."