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Niederfahrenhorst, Astrid and Rothe, Camilla (2022): Wichtige Arbovirosen bei Tropenrückkehrern: Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika. In: Deutsche Medizinische Wochenschrift, Vol. 147, No. 12: pp. 755-766

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Arboviral infections are an important differential diagnosis in returning travelers with fever, muscle or joint pain and rash. Arboviruses have spread widely around the globe in the last decades. The most common arboviral infections in returning travelers from tropical and subtropical areas are dengue, chikungunya and zika. Their most important vectors, Aedes (Stegomyia) mosquito species, have adapted to the urban environment, which enabled arboviruses to establish urban transmission cycles. Population growth, urbanization, globalization, modern means of transportation and global warming are speeding up their spread. Laboratory confirmation of an arboviral infection can generally be obtained by direct virus detection (PCR, antigen test) in the first week of illness;from the second week of illness serology can be used. Treatment is mostly symptomatic. Dengue fever is the most common cause of fever in returning travelers from South-East Asia. Patients have to be educated about and observed for warning signs of severe dengue that can rarely develop around day 5 of the disease and is marked by a rise in hematocrit. Chikungunya mostly occurs in epidemics and is characterized by severe and often long-lasting arthritis. Preconceptional screening for zika virus infection is not recommended. Instead, travelers should delay conception for up to three months after returning from a zika endemic area. Dengue, chikungunya and zika vaccine development has been hampered by difficulties, for example antibody-dependent-enhancement or the unpredictability of outbreaks, and up to now no vaccines for travelers have been licensed. Yet several promising vaccine candidates are currently under development.

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