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Dengue Fever in Madeira (Portugal)

10 Oct 2012

On 3 October 2012, the Public Health Authority of Portugal reported two cases of dengue virus infection in residents of the Autonomous Region of Madeira, Portugal. Neither case gave a history of recent travel abroad. The cases are thought to be locally acquired (autochthonous) and epidemiological investigations are ongoing to confirm if this is the case. If confirmed, this will be the first time that locally acquired dengue fever has been identified in Madeira. Further suspected cases are under investigation by the local authorities and have been reported by the media.

A local response has been activated by the Health Services of Madeira, including epidemiological investigation, laboratory diagnosis, health care services response and dissemination of information regarding individual protection against mosquito bites.

Advice for Travellers

The main carrier of dengue virus is the Aedes aegypti mosquito and it has been present on the island of Madeira since 2004. Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are not present on the mainland of Portugal which lies 1000 km from the island of Madeira.

The risk of dengue fever in Madeira is very low for travellers. There is no vaccine available against dengue fever and the only prevention is to avoid mosquito bites.

Travellers returning from Madeira wiho develop syptoms of dengue fever e.g. fever, headache, muscle and joint pain or a rash, within 14 days of leaving the island, should consult with their GP immediately.