Dengue Fever: Statistics and Key Facts

Mosquito landing on man’s arm

Dengue is a viral infection that is usually contracted when an individual is bitten by an infected female mosquito. There are 4 dengue virus serotypes, meaning it is possible for one person to get infected 4 times. Once an individual is infected with one type, they develop lifelong immunity to that specific serotype. However, if they are re-infected with a different serotype, they are more at risk of developing severe dengue, which can be life-threatening [1].

The WHO estimates that 390 million dengue virus infections occur every year, 70% of which are in Asia. What’s most troubling is that the number of cases continue to rise annually, with 2019 being the year with the largest number of dengue cases to ever be reported globally.

Dengue Fever Statistics: Number of Reported Dengue Cases in Southeast Asian Countries in 2019


2019 Dengue Statistics



Reported 130,101 cases (over a 60% increase from 2018) & 182 deaths in 2019. [2]



Reported more than double the number of cases in 2019 compared to 20198, with 106,000 cases & 110 deaths through October. [4]



Reported 320,702 cases (a 2.5x increase from 2018) & 52 deaths in 2019. [5]



Reported 371,717 cases & 1,407 deaths through October 2019, a 106% increase during the same period in 2018. [3]



Reported 56,000 cases through September (8x the number of cases reported during the same time period in 2018). [6]


With many regions entering rainy season, and with warmer temperatures and increased humidity allowing vectors to flourish, keep track of prevention tips, symptoms, and treatment methods to know what to expect.

Dengue fever symptoms

Dengue fever symptoms usually present four to ten days after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include:

  • High fever, which can hit 40C and above

  • Headaches

  • Joint, muscle and bone aches and pains

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Rash

  • Pain behind the eyes

  • Swollen glands

Some people, however, do not experience any symptoms. Conversely, others have extreme, life-threatening symptoms. This is referred to as severe dengue or dengue hemorrhagic fever.

Dengue hemorrhagic fever

Dengue hemorrhagic fever is also known as dengue shock syndrome. It occurs when the virus causes damage to the blood vessels as well as a drop in the platelet (clot-forming cells) levels. Severe dengue can cause internal bleeding, organ failure and even lead to death.

Symptoms of dengue hemorrhagic fever can develop quickly, usually in 24 hours after the fever goes away. Signs of severe dengue include:

  • Extreme stomach pains

  • Blood in the urine and stool

  • Persistent vomitting - there might be blood in the vomit

  • Bleeding from the nose or gums

  • Bleeding under the skin - this might look like bruises

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Tiredness or fatigue

  • Feeling restless or irritable

Severe dengue can be life-threatening and as such, it’s important that you head to the emergency room immediately if you have any of the symptoms above.

How long does a dengue fever last?

Symptoms of dengue fever can last anywhere from two to seven days. Most people will recover in about a week. However, people who are immunocompromised and those having dengue for the second time are at greater risk of dengue hemorrhagic fever and may take longer to recover.

Dengue fever treatment

There is currently no specific medication to treat dengue fever. Unfortunately, there is also no safe vaccine that can be used to prevent it. If needed, you can use over-the-counter medication to relieve the fever, joint pain and headache.

Make sure that you drink plenty of fluids and rest. Head to your doctor immediately if you feel worse within 24 hours of your fever subsiding, as this could be a sign of future complications.

How to prevent dengue fever?

One of the most convenient ways to prevent dengue fever is to download Pulse, and use the Dengue Alert feature to help you to stay away from dengue hotspots. You will get a heads-up on dengue outbreaks three months in advance. Based on your location, you can now know the potential outbreak zones and avoid these areas to save your money, time and most importantly, health.

If you have to be in a high-risk area, the following steps can help ensure that you do not get bitten by mosquitoes:

  • Use mosquito repellent

  • Wear long-sleeved shirts

  • Wear long pants and for extra protection, tuck your pants into your socks

  • Keep windows closed - use air conditioning if the room feels stuffy.

  • Install window and door screens. Check them periodically to ensure that they are secure. Repair them immediately if there are tears or holes.

  • Use mosquito nets for your sleeping area.

Besides these safety measures, steps can also be taken to reduce the mosquito population. This can be achieved by ensuring that there are no breeding grounds for mosquitoes in your surrounding area. Make sure the following areas or items at your home (inside and outside) do not contain still water:

  • Flower pots

  • Pails and buckets

  • Birdbaths

  • Cans

  • Pet dishes

  • All empty vessels that water can collect in.

If you do need to have a pail of water in your home or have a water bowl for your pet, change them regularly so that mosquitoes have no chance of breeding. If everyone does their part, the mosquito population can be significantly reduced.

Dengue in Malaysia

According to The Star, Malaysia’s Deputy Health Minister reports a total of 18,884 dengue cases from January to June 2022. Out of this number, 12 cases have resulted in death. But what’s worrying is that these numbers show a 62.4% increase of dengue cases from the same period of 2021.

In Malaysia, dengue is often linked to the weather. Increased rain means more breeding ground for mosquitoes, while higher temperatures mean shorter extrinsic incubation periods (the time it takes for a mosquito to become infective after biting someone who carries the dengue virus).

As such, it’s not only important to do our part in reducing the mosquito population, but also essential that we take every precaution to protect ourselves from dengue fever and its consequences.

Dengue fever insurance

One effective way to protect yourself from the consequences of dengue is with Prudential’s dengue fever insurance, the PRUSimple Care on Pulse Dengue Package.

Based on the plan you choose, the Dengue Package covers you for death due to dengue benefits, diagnosis of dengue benefits and daily room and board benefit if you’re admitted for dengue. Contact us today if you need more information, our team would be happy to answer any questions you have.


  1. Fact Sheet: Dengue and Severe Dengue [Internet]. World Health Organization (WHO). 2020 [cited 20 May 2020]. Available from:

  2. Arumugam T. Dengue lurks in background of Covid-19 pandemic. New Straits Times [Internet]. 2020 [cited 20 May 2020];. Available from:

  3. Outbreak News Today. Philippines dengue epidemic up to 370K cases, Indonesia cases up ‘drastically’. [Internet]. 2019 [cited 20 May 2020];. Available from:

  4. Siegel L. Asia’s hardest year for dengue fever – in pictures. The Guardian [Internet]. 2019 [cited 20 May 2020];. Available from:

  5. Outbreak News Today. Vietnam reports big increase in dengue fever in 2019. [Internet]. 2020 [cited 20 May 2020];. Available from:

  6. Outbreak News Today. Cambodia reports dramatic increase in dengue in 2019. [Internet]. 2019 [cited 20 May 2020];. Available from: