Dengue viruses infect around 390 million people a year. Now, for the first time, this mosquito-borne disease is vaccine-preventable.
The first new vaccine against dengue fever has been given the green light in Mexico and other vaccines against the disease are also in the pipeline.
Update: The first vaccine is now approved in Mexico, Brazil and The Philippines
The approval in Mexico is expected to be followed by adoption in several South East Asian nations.
Most of those affected live in Asia, Africa and Latin America. However, the disease is now also spreading to non-tropical countries. The number of people living in countries at risk from dengue fever has been estimated at around 3.9 billion – around half the world’s population.
In addition, millions of travellers to those areas are also at risk of being bitten by the disease carrying mosquitos.
Dengue fever was first identified in the 1950s during epidemics in the Philippines and Thailand with nine countries reporting outbreaks by 1970. The number of cases has increased more than fourfold since then and continue to grow.