Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne disease, is becoming a growing concern in Europe, particularly in countries like Switzerland and Italy. The resumption of travel after the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with rising temperatures due to climate change, is believed to be contributing to the emergence of dengue infections in these regions. European health authorities are closely monitoring the situation to prevent further spread and protect public health.
In Switzerland, there has been a significant increase in dengue fever cases. Since the beginning of the year, 154 cases have been reported, compared to just 68 in 2022. Additionally, cases of other mosquito-borne diseases like chikungunya and malaria are also on the rise. Most of the cases reported in Switzerland involve individuals who contracted the infections abroad. However, there is concern about the potential for local transmission due to the presence of the tiger mosquito in Switzerland. Swiss cantons are actively monitoring the spread of the tiger mosquito and implementing control measures to prevent further proliferation.
Italy is also experiencing a surge in dengue fever cases, with locally acquired cases reported in multiple regions. This is a significant shift from 2020 when no locally acquired cases were reported. Italian health authorities have taken immediate action by initiating vector control measures in the affected regions. They have also urged the public to take precautions to prevent mosquito bites and reduce the risk of infection.
Dengue fever is a viral illness that presents with symptoms such as sudden fever, severe headache, joint and muscle pain, and rash. If not promptly treated, it can progress to more severe forms. While there is a vaccine available for dengue fever, it is primarily recommended for individuals with a prior dengue infection and in regions with a high dengue burden.
In light of the resurgence of dengue fever in Switzerland and Italy, it is crucial for individuals in affected areas to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites. This includes using insect repellent, wearing protective clothing, and staying indoors during peak mosquito activity times. It is also important to eliminate sources of standing water, as these serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes. If individuals exhibit dengue-like symptoms, such as sudden fever and severe headache, they should seek medical attention promptly. It is important to note that aspirin or ibuprofen products should be avoided if dengue fever is suspected, as these medications can worsen bleeding tendencies associated with the disease.
The resurgence of dengue fever in Europe serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for vigilance against mosquito-borne diseases. With increased travel and changing environmental factors that promote mosquito proliferation, both public health efforts and individual precautions are essential in preventing further spread and ensuring the safety of affected communities. It is crucial for everyone to stay informed and follow the guidance provided by health authorities to protect themselves and their communities from mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever.