Indigenous dengue fever alert: the health authority calls for general mobilization

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According to the latest figures from the National Public Health Agency, 41 indigenous cases of dengue, divided into five outbreaks, have been recorded in mainland France since the beginning of July 2022. A balance sheet which risks being revised upwards . The Directorate General of Health calls for vigilance and insists on the mobilization of all in order to curb contamination.

This summer, France experienced a massive invasion of the tiger mosquito which is now raging in 67 metropolitan departments. A proliferation, mainly due to a favorable climate, which worries the health authorities.

In addition to being a proven source of nuisance, theAedes albopictus (the scientific name of the tiger mosquito) is also likely to be a vector of several diseases such as dengue fever, chikungunya or Zika. “In this context, enhanced surveillance is implemented between May and November, each year, which constitutes the period of vector activity”, explains the General Directorate of Health (DGS), contacted by The Dispatch. Fears which were quickly confirmed, particularly in the south of France.

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A record number

According to the latest figures from the National Public Health Agency, 41 indigenous cases of dengue fever, divided into five outbreaks, have been recorded in mainland France since the beginning of July 2022.

Of the five departments affected by dengue fever, three are located in Occitanie and two in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. An unprecedented figure that exceeds the cumulative total of the last ten years. As a reminder, in metropolitan France, nine localized episodes of dengue fever or chikungunya transmission occurred between 2010 and 2017.

And the concern is twofold: the contaminations only concern people who have not “traveled to an area where the virus circulates in the 15 days preceding the onset of symptoms” and dengue fever has broken out in several departments where it had never been detected.

Inform the ARS

An observation that prompted the DGS, contacted by La Dépêche, to sound the alarm: “Faced with outbreaks of autochthonous dengue fever, which demonstrate circulation of the virus on the territory, the population should be informed of the risk and the preventive measures to be put in place”.

As soon as the first symptoms appear (fever and joint pain), the health authority recommends informing the Regional Health Agencies (ARS) via the mandatory reporting system. Serological and virological tests are thus available to diagnose cases.

“The objective is that the ARS can organize vector control actions, in conjunction with the mosquito control operators, around the cases: elimination of mosquitoes potentially vectors of diseases, field surveys in order to identify other cases, etc. “, continues the DGS.

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General mobilization

But in a context of climate and environmental changes and the globalization of trade, the balance sheet is likely to progress rapidly. This Wednesday, September 21, a new case was detected in Montauban, in Tarn-et-Garonne. “The authorities, at national and regional level, are fully mobilized to respond to this risk”, tries to reassure the DGS.

Physical measures to eliminate mosquitoes by acting on their breeding grounds (elimination of breeding sites), chemical mosquito control processes around cases to limit the risk of contamination, communication and social mobilization… the DGS is on a war footing. On the other hand, “limiting the number of cases of infection nevertheless remains everyone’s business, by individually adopting the right preventive measures”, she wishes to specify.

Individual actions

The health authority therefore insists on the need to adopt the right actions (limit favorable breeding sites, avoid bites by using mosquito nets or covering the skin, etc.) in order to curb contamination.

“Patients must imperatively isolate themselves from mosquitoes during their viremia phase, which lasts about ten days”, she recalls. It is advisable to wear covering and loose clothing, to use a skin repellent, to set up mosquito nets on the openings (doors and windows) and to use electric diffusers inside the dwellings.

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