Geoffrey Branger, edited by Romain Rouillard
07:03, September 20, 2022
Santé Publique France and the General Directorate of Health have warned of the sharp increase this year in the number of dengue fever cases in France. This viral disease, which is caught via the bite of certain tiger mosquitoes, is present in 67 departments of metropolitan France to date.
With 800,000 deaths caused each year, the mosquito is the most dangerous animal for humans. It spreads many diseases such as Chikungunya, yellow fever or the Zika virus but also dengue fever. Since the beginning of the year, 41 autochthonous cases of this disease have been detected in France. In other words, these are cases of contamination that were not imported from overseas where the disease circulates more. What attract the vigilance of the health authorities.
Especially since the phenomenon could continue, according to specialists. New cases could thus be recorded by the end of October. “The temperatures are still favorable, that is to say that if they are high enough, we will have a development of the virus and this is what is generally observed in the months of September and October, which is why it we must continue to be vigilant”, explains Harold Noël, epidemiologist at Public Health France.
With global warming, this specialist expects to observe contamination later in the year and does not rule out seeing new cases identified in November. Transmitted by the tiger mosquito, a species that arrived in mainland France in 2004, dengue is now present in 67 departments. A figure in constant evolution. In about one in three cases, an infected person has symptoms quite similar to those of the flu: fever, body aches or even headaches.
Introducing sterilized male individuals into the wild
Therefore, the health authorities do not intend to take this subject lightly. When a new case is detected, mosquito control operations are put in place, as in Strasbourg last week. In the long term, a national strategy is beginning to emerge to combat the proliferation of tiger mosquitoes.
The introduction of sterilized male tiger mosquito specimens into the wild is one of the avenues favored by the authorities. In mosquitoes, only the females bite and the latter only mate once in their lifetime. Thus, it would become impossible for them to create offspring, which will automatically drop the number of individuals likely to transmit the disease.
In France, this technique has just been implemented, but the health authorities place a lot of hope on its success in combating this scourge, which is a potential vector of fatal diseases.