Thursday, July 18, 2024

Dengue fever cases soar as plague of tiger mosquitoes hit Europe

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The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has warned that cases of dengue fever are on the rise across Europe – we have listed the most serious symptoms to look out for

Cases of dengue have spiked due to tiger mosquitos(AFP via Getty Images)

Health experts have issued a warning following reports that a plague of tiger mosquitoes is spreading across Europe.

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control has announced that cases of dengue fever are on the rise. According to the agency, the invasive mosquitoes are becoming more prevalent in Europe as climate change has pushed temperatures up. Dengue is not usually serious but can be severe in some cases and can be fatal.

The more severe symptoms, which tend to appear after the fever has gone away, can include vomiting, bleeding gums and severe abdominal pain. Last year, 130 locally acquired cases of dengue were recorded in the EU, compared to 71 in 2022. The stark increase is even more shocking between the dates 2010 and 2021, which only saw 73 cases reported across the entire period.

ECDC director Andrea Ammon said: “Europe is already seeing how climate change is creating more favourable conditions for invasive mosquitoes to spread into previously unaffected areas and infect more people with diseases such as dengue. Increased international travel from dengue-endemic countries will also increase the risk of imported cases, and inevitably also the risk of local outbreaks.”

The mosquitoes can cause symptoms including a rash or headache (Getty Images)

She added: “Personal protective measures combined with vector control measures, early detection of cases, timely surveillance, further research and awareness-raising activities are paramount in those areas in Europe most at risk.” It has been reported that imported cases are also on the rise as more than 4,900 people in Europe suffered from dengue while travelling abroad in 2023.

The tiger mosquito, which can also spread chikungunya and Zika virus, used to be detected only in tropical countries. But now, the ECDC has discovered that it has been established in 13 European countries such as; Croatia, France, Germany, Austria, Bulgaria, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia and Spain.

In recent years, it has also been found by authorities at UK ports but no local populations are yet to have been established. Below we have listed the range of symptoms to look out for.

Milder symptoms

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