Ibiza: Authorities warn of dengue fever in summer

The health authorities in Ibiza have asked holidaymakers there to look out for symptoms of dengue fever.

The Balearic island saw multiple outbreaks of the mosquito-borne virus between May and November last year.

Health authorities warn that a “moderate” risk of contagion is expected this summer.

What are the symptoms to look out for and how to protect yourself?

How many tourists got dengue fever in Ibiza last year?

Dengue fever is transmitted by mosquitoes infected with the dengue virus. The disease is common in areas with hot, humid climates – an environment where mosquitoes thrive.

The disease cannot be transmitted from person to person, but a person who has the virus can infect mosquitoes, which in turn will spread the virus further.

Six German tourists were infected with the virus in Ibiza between May and November last year. A 27-year-old woman, her partner, and their 13-month-old daughter contracted dengue fever in August 2022. Another family – a 37-year-old woman, her partner and their nine-year-old son – are suspected of contracting the virus in the same town in October 2022.

The risk of contracting the virus is currently low, but will rise to medium levels over the summer.

“One of the potential carriers of dengue virus is the mosquito Aedes albopictus, which is found throughout the region, in the Spanish Mediterranean and Balearic Islands and in some inland and northern areas of the country,” said a spokesman for the Spanish Ministry of Health.

“Once the cases became known, the authorities of the Balearic Islands have taken measures such as the relevant surveillance and Vector control and communication and public information to be carried out prior to and during the start of the season of vector activity.”

What are the symptoms of dengue fever?

Nearly 100 million cases of dengue fever occur worldwide each year. Up to three quarters of people who get dengue fever show no symptoms.

People who do get sick may experience mild or severe symptoms such as fever, nausea and vomiting, and a skin rash. Pain in the joints, bones, muscles and behind the eyes are also warning signs.

These begin between four and 10 days after the mosquito bite. If you suspect you have the virus, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.

While most people recover without treatment in about a week, about 1 in 20 people experience severe symptoms. If this is the case, you should go to the emergency room immediately. The risk of illness is increased in people who have already contracted the virus.

Abdominal pain, vomiting blood, and bleeding from the nose or gums are symptoms of severe dengue disease.

How can you protect yourself from dengue?

There is a dengue vaccine approved in the European Union, but it is only recommended for people who have had the disease before.

The best and easiest way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. Wear long-sleeved clothing, use a repellent, and sleep under a mosquito net.

Where is dengue fever found in Europe?

Dengue fever is widespread in tropical and subtropical areas, but relatively rare in Europe.

During the summer months it has so far been detected in the following European countries:

– Croatia

– France

– Italy

– Spain

– Portugal and Madeira

With climate change and global warming, the virus is likely to spread further north in the future.

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