There are 4 types of the dengue virus that cause dengue fever – Dengue Type 1, 2, 3 and 4. People become immune to a particular type of dengue virus once they’ve had it, but can still get sick from the other types of dengue if exposed.
Catching different types of dengue, even years apart, increases the risk of developing severe dengue. Severe dengue causes bleeding and shock, and can be life threatening. There have been deaths in Queensland from severe dengue.
The dengue virus is not endemic in Australia, which means the virus is not normally present in Queensland.
Dengue fever outbreaks begin in Queensland when someone is infected with dengue overseas and arrives with the virus in their blood. This is called an imported case. A local dengue mosquito bites this person, becomes infected with the virus, and then passes it on to other people by biting them. These are known as locally acquired cases.
The dengue virus does not spread directly from person to person.