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Dengue in Spain - Update 1

21 Nov 2018

The Catalan Public Health Agency (ASPCAT)   has confirmed (in Catalan) a case of locally-acquired dengue in Catalonia. The patient is a resident of Barcelonès Nord and had not previously travelled to any area of dengue transmission. He became unwell between 16 and 18 October and has now recovered. This is the first occurrence of dengue in Catalonia although there have been five other cases elsewhere in Spain (Murcia and Cádiz) in recent weeks.

Advice for Travellers

All travellers to regions where dengue occurs are potentially at risk of dengue fever and should be aware of this infection. Prevention relies on avoiding mosquito bites.

Aedes mosquitoes are particularly persistent and aggressive and bite between dawn and dusk.

Methods of bite avoidance include:

• Wearing long, loose, lightly coloured clothing to cover up the skin during the day.

• The use of insect repellent containing DEET applied to any exposed skin between dawn and dusk.

• When sunscreen and DEET are used together, DEET should be applied after sunscreen. The effectiveness of repellent reduces more rapidly than sunscreen, therefore, repellent may have to be reapplied on top of sunscreen.

• The use of permethrin, impregnated mosquito nets protects against early morning bites and should also be used when sleeping during the day.

• The use of air conditioning if available and/or mesh screening of windows and doors.

• Eradication of mosquito breeding sites around accommodation/home (e.g. open containers, old tyres or flower pots that may collect water).

Vaccine

There is no vaccine against dengue fever licensed in the UK.

At present the World Health Organisation (WHO) is trialling several candidate vaccines against dengue fever.

For further information see Dengue Fever.