Dengue alert in pregnancy

Updated: Oct 12, 2020

Dengue cases are peaking in Singapore since 2014. If you get dengue in pregnancy, seek medical treatment to avoid complications. Dengue is endemic in Singapore. Our tropical climate breeds Aedes mosquitoes.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection and causes myalgia, high fever and low platelet level with bleeding tendency. There is no report of teratogenic effect causing any foetal malformation.

Although rare, vertical transmission from the mother to baby has been reported, especially around the time of delivery. As a result, the affected infants may develop fever and bleeding due to low platelet level.

5 Symptoms of Dengue

  • High fever and shivers

  • Bleeding gums

  • Severe headache

  • Body / joint pain

  • Rashes

Dengue in pregnancy

Dengue virus is tiny and can cross the placenta to infect the baby. So if it happens, it may affect the growing baby. Miscarriage can occur. Baby may also be born prematurely or small. High fever is also harmful to baby. In Brazil, studies showed that pregnant women with dengue were 3X more likely to develop severe dengue. You may need hospitalisation for monitoring.

How to treat Dengue in pregnancy

Unfortunately, there is no medication for dengue. Fortunately, it runs its own course and you get better soon. Dehydration and bleeding may happen, so the doctor will keep a tab on the platelets.

How to protect yourself against Dengue in pregnancy

Vaccine is only useful if you have previously contracted dengue but is not licensed for use in pregnancy. Take these steps instead to avoid getting bitten.

  • Use safe mosquito repellent. DEET is safe as <10% is absorbed through skin. You can apply on your clothing instead of your skin.

  • Wear loose and fully sleeved clothes, especially in the evening,

  • Stay in cool room indoors, as mosquitoes prefer warm environment

  • Clear stagnant water

  • Use mosquito net at night and spray to ward off mosquitoes

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