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Dengue in islands of the French Antilles

24 Feb 2020

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) reports continued transmission of dengue in islands of the French Antilles.

Guadeloupe has reported 5 840 cases of dengue between October 2019 and 15 February 2020: an epidemic was declared in January 2020.

Saint Martin reported 530 cases (including 1 death) between the thirds week of 2020 and 15 February 2020: an epidemic was declared in January 2020.

Saint Barthelemy has reported 104 cases from the end of November 2019 to 15 February 2020.

Martinique has reported 2 470 cases (including 1 death) since July 2019 and as of 15 February 2020, 2 470 dengue cases including one death have been reported. The island is considered to be at risk of a dengue epidemic.

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 at all times.

The Aedes mosquitoes that transmit dengue are particularly persistent and aggressive. Methods of bite avoidance include:

• The use of insect repellent containing DEET applied to any exposed skin at all times.

• Wearing long, loose, lightly coloured clothing to cover up the skin at all times.

• 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

No vaccine against dengue fever has been licensed for use in the UK.

For further information see Dengue Fever.