What is dengue, and why is it so widespread this year?

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HANOI: Dubbed 'breakbone fever', dengue is one of the world's leading mosquito-borne illnesses and infects tens of millions across the globe annually.

HANOI: Dubbed"breakbone fever", dengue is one of the world's leading mosquito-borne illnesses and infects tens of millions across the globe annually.

A massive boom in international travel and trade has also expanded dengue's footprint, allowing the virus to be carried across the globe in a matter of hours and unleashed in new communities. It's most serious - and deadly - in children, especially young girls though scientists don't know why. With no known treatment for dengue, doctors can only help to ease the virus' brutal symptoms, which can last weeks and often renders patients completely immobile.Once confined mostly to cities in tropical climates, dengue is now found in at least 125 countries across the world, with around 100 million infected every year and some four billion people living in dengue-prone areas, according to the journal Nature Microbiology.

Several European countries where dengue was once marginal have seen outbreaks, while Latin American countries including Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Nicaragua are tackling a surge in cases.In Southeast Asia insecticide fogging is commonly used to kill mosquitoes off, but they usually return after a few days, and insects can quickly become resistant to the chemicals.

 

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