CDC Warns Haiti Relief Workers To Watch For Signs Of Dengue Fever

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are warning people who helped with earthquake relief in Haiti to be on the lookout for Dengue fever. 
Dengue fever is characterized by high fever plus two or more of the following: headache, retro-orbital pain, joint pain, muscle or bone pain, rash, mild hemorrhagic manifestations (e.g., nose or gum bleed, petechiae, or easy bruising), and leukopenia.
The incubation for the virus ranges from three to 14 days but is typically about one week; therefore, illness may occur while the workers are stationed in Haiti or after they return to the US. Most dengue fever cases can be treated with bed rest, acetaminophen, and oral fluids.
A small proportion of patients develop dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHF). In those cases, patients have a resolving fever or a recent history of fever lasting two to seven days, any hemorrhagic manifestation, thrombocytopenia (platelet count <100,000/mm3), and abnormal vascular permeability evidenced by hemoconcentration, hypoalbuminemia, or abdominal or pleural effusions. DHF can result in circulatory instability or shock, and the risk for these complications may be increased among persons with prior dengue infection. Adequate management of DHF patients generally requires timely hospitalization and judicious administration of intravascular fluids and close monitoring of vital signs and hemodynamic status. 
The 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck just outside Port au Prince on January 12, 2010, caused extensive damage to homes and utilities and left many residents without proper shelter or access to important services such as electricity and water. Exposure to the elements and increased opportunities for mosquito breeding site proliferation have likely increased the risk of disease spreading, such as dengue.
Since dengue is endemic in Haiti and relief workers responding to previous disasters in Haiti reported high rates of dengue infection, the CDC Dengue Branch is warning physicians to evaluate travelers returning with a febrile illness (or a recent history of febrile illness) from Haiti and report cases of suspected dengue to either their local health department or CDC.
If you have questions, call the CDC's at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).