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Dengue fever: Record cases imported into France, mostly from the Antilles

Dengue fever: Record cases imported into France, mostly from the Antilles

Thousands of French travelers, who chose the Antilles as their destination, returned home with an unwanted souvenir: dengue fever. The record for imported cases recorded for the entire year of 2023 was broken during the first four months of 2024. Health authorities warn of an unprecedented situation.

The number of dengue cases imported into mainland France, especially after trips to the Antilles, has broken the record set for the whole of 2023, according to data from the French Public Health Authority (SPF).

From January 1 to April 30, 2024, 2,166 imported dengue cases were recorded in France, compared to an average of 128 cases during the same period of the previous five years. Even before the Paris Olympics, an event that would encourage mixing among the population, the 2023 record for imported dengue cases (2,019 patients) was broken in just four months. However, the Olympics will be held from July 26 to August 11, at the height of the season for the tiger mosquito, the vector of the disease.
From May 1 to 14, another 98 imported dengue cases were recorded.

Dengue fever is a viral disease that is often benign. However, it can develop, in about 1% of cases, into a more serious form, particularly causing bleeding. Deaths are very rare.
“cases”imported“This is of concern to people who have traveled to areas of the world where this virus, which is transmitted by the bite of a tiger mosquito, is endemic.

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“For nearly a month, health authorities have already been alerted to the situation.”Unpublished“, linked to the outbreak in the Americas and the Caribbean, and called for increased vigilance, especially in the run-up to the Games.
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) warned at the end of March that Latin America and the Caribbean should expect the worst dengue season on record, fueled by the El Niño climate phenomenon.

During the first four months of 2024, 82% of cases imported to mainland France were contracted in Martinique or Guadeloupe and 5% in Guyana.Departments where there is a major epidemic“, indicated Public Health France.
In mainland France, dengue (arbovirus like chikungunya or Zika) is subject to enhanced surveillance, between May and November, the period of activity of tiger mosquitoes, which are now present in almost the entire region.
As of mid-May, no cases of local transmission of dengue, but also chikungunya or Zika, had been detected.
In 2023, France recorded about fifty local cases of dengue fever, transmitted by a mosquito present at the site, after recording 66 cases in 2022.