Madeira dengue fever outbreak nearing 2,000 cases, health officials say its slowing
The dengue fever outbreak on the Portuguese island of Madeira that began on Oct. 3 is still ongoing, albeit slowing, according to a Portuguese Ministry of Health release Dec.10.
The number of dengue cases reported is 1,993 as of Dec. 5, up from 1,819 from a week prior. These numbers have health officials optimistic that the outbreak is beginning to slow because it represents a 54 percent drop in the number of cases registered in the week of Nov. 26-Dec. 2.
In addition, since the beginning of the outbreak two months ago, at least 118 people infected with the mosquito borne virus required hospitalization for their illness. There has been no deaths reported associated with this outbreak.
The vast majority of confirmed cases from this outbreak have been in residents of Madeira Island, particularly in the city of Funchal, which is the main port on the island.
In addition, dozens of vacationers to the island have contracted the virus, only to test dengue positive upon return home.
Earlier this week, Portugal’s Health Minister Paulo Moita de Macedo, and the State Secretary, Fernando Leal da Costa, visited Madeira to see the measures taken against the outbreak .
Fernando Leal da Costa said it will be difficult to eradicate the mosquito that transmits dengue, so we have to learn to live with this threat. He also expressed his belief in the sense that we should watch in the coming years, progressively, to an increasingly residual activity of dengue mosquito breeding Aedes aegytpi .
The outbreak represents Europe’s first sustained transmission since the 1920’s.
Dengue fever is a disease caused by any one of four closely related dengue viruses (DENV 1, DENV 2, DENV 3, or DENV 4). The viruses are transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito.
The principal symptoms of dengue fever are high fever that lasts from 2 to 7 days, severe headache, severe pain behind the eyes, joint pain, muscle and bone pain, rash, and mild bleeding.
More serious and life threatening forms of dengue include dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
There is no vaccine for prevention of dengue fever and no specific medication for treatment of a dengue infection.
Prevention of dengue fever includes methods of avoiding mosquito bites:
- Drain standing water around your house
- Use spray with DEET if you go outside
- Dress in cloths that cover most of your skin
- Try not to go out a lot during dusk and dawn
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