Dengue Awareness

The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur alerts U.S. citizens of the recent spike in dengue fever cases in Malaysia. Local media report a more than 200 percent increase in cases so far this year compared to the same period in 2013, with more than 48,800 cases and 92 deaths reported since January 2014. We urge U.S. citizens in Malaysia to be vigilant, use repellant, and destroy mosquito breeding areas as appropriate.

Dengue Fever is a viral illness transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and A. albopictus mosquitoes. These mosquitoes bite during the day, most commonly at dusk and dawn. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), symptoms of dengue may include vomiting, high fever, severe headaches, pain behind the eyes, extreme muscle and joint pain, rash, and mild bleeding (mild to severe or easy bruising). There is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue fever. Persons exhibiting symptoms should seek the attention of a medical doctor immediately. Upon your return to the United States, if you develop fever within two weeks of travel to Malaysia, you should specify to your health care provider that you have been to a dengue zone.

Prevention of dengue infection is focused on reducing mosquito exposure by using repellents, covering exposed skin by wearing long sleeves and long pants, treating clothing and tents with permethrin, and sleeping in screened or air conditioned rooms. The State Department recommends that U.S. citizens carry and use CDC recommended insect repellents containing either 20% DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon, eucalyptus or IR3535 to help diminish bites from mosquitoes. The Department also recommends that you not use DEET in combination with sunscreens. Unlike sunscreen, which is frequently reapplied, DEET should not be applied more than once a day.

The single most important preventative measure that you can take is to diminish mosquitoes through elimination of standing water around your house and environment. This eliminates the mosquito’s breeding areas. You should keep pots, birdbaths, and other containers around your home clear of stagnant water.

To obtain travel notices or further information on Dengue, you may visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or call the CDC at 1- 800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) from within the United States, or 1-404-639- 3534 from overseas. For more information on Dengue fever in Malaysia, please see the Malaysian Ministry of Health’s website.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Malaysia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Malaysia. For additional information, refer to the “Traveler’s Checklist” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Kuala Lumpur is located at 376 Jalan Tun Razak 50400, Kuala Lumpur and is open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you are a U.S. citizen and have any questions or concerns, please call the U.S. Embassy at (03) 2168-5000 or visit the U.S. Citizens Service website. We will post the most updated information on the website.