Mum of British backpacker who died in Thailand warns of signs of dengue fever

The mum of a British backpacker who died in Thailand in 2016 is warning others to spot the signs of dengue fever that her son experienced before his tragic death. Her son, 21 year old Bob Toulson-Burke, died just two weeks after developing flu-like symptoms while travelling.

Bob’s mother, Jayne, told Evening Standard yesterday that his symptoms included headaches, nausea, and joint pain, but was told to come back again if his condition worsened. After developing the fever, he was transferred to a Bangkok hospital.

Jayne said that in her last conversation with her son, he told her, “I’ll have to go now mum because I can’t breathe very well.” Bob later suffered a series of heart attacks and died on December 7, 2016.

Jayne later recreated his trip and warned travellers about the virus. She hopes that her message can alert current and future travellers about the dangers of the disease. Jayne noted that while most people accepted cards from her about the symptoms, some said, “It won’t happen to me.”

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Doctors believe that that dengue fever may spread to the UK due to climate change, after a British woman caught the virus in France last September. The 44 year old had been visiting family in Nice and went to A&E when she returned home. She didn’t need treatment, but an expert from London’s Hospital for Tropical Diseases in London warned that the number of dengue fever cases is rising in Europe. Dr Owain Donnelly said in a report…

“This individual was part of an outbreak of over 30 locally transmitted cases in the south of France in 2022, which highlights the rapidly changing epidemiology of dengue.”

Donnelly warned that with climate change, hotter weather, and more rainfall, parts of Europe could see more dengue fever with the right combination of factors.

Between June and September 2022, the Agence Regionale de Santé in France reported three separate outbreaks of the disease.

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes, and symptoms can include high fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea and vomiting.

The virus is transmitted by the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. The four serotypes of Dengue Virus, or DENV, include DENV-1, DENV-2, DENV-3, and DENV-4. According to the World Health Organisation, if you are bitten by one of the many Aedes mosquitoes in Thailand, it is important to monitor yourself if symptoms arise. To read more about Dengue fever, click HERE.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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