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Authorities are warning people heading overseas to protect themselves against mosquitoes as the number of dengue fever cases reported in South Australia spikes.

Already this year, 40 cases have been reported in SA – almost double the total from 2011 and eight times more than in 2005.

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes and while up to 100 million people are infected each year, there is still no vaccine, and it can prove fatal.

Mosquito expert Dr Craig Williams told 7News the danger is with people traveling overseas to places where the virus is common like Indonesia and Thailand.

“You can’t actually catch it here, but you can certainly go on holidays or visit family and friends and bring it back into Australia,” he said.

Symptoms of dengue fever include a sudden fever, headache, muscle pain, vomiting or a rash.

SA Health has recommended people take precautions when visiting hot spots for dengue fever.

It says people should use good quality insect repellent containing DEET, and wear loose, light-coloured, long-sleeve clothing.

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