France Reports Dengue Outbreak on Réunion Island

Dengue virus outbreak of unusual magnitude is taking place in the French Outermost Region of Réunion Island

reunion island airport

French health authorities have reported 1,388 Dengue virus cases during 2018, on the Outermost Region of Réunion Island.

Of all 2018 Dengue cases reported, 396 were during the second week of April 2018.

According to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the current epidemic could continue and intensify in the coming weeks.

Which means, this Dengue outbreak is accelerating.

Based on previous Aedes mosquito-borne outbreaks on the island, further transmission is expected up to the beginning of the southern hemisphere winter, which lasts from July to September, said the ECDC.

The Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are considered to be the principal vector of Dengue virus in Réunion Island, which is located in the Indian Ocean, east of Madagascar.

Dengue is caused by any one of four related viruses transmitted by mosquitoes. The most prevalent Dengue serotype of this French outbreak is DENV-2.

The risk of onward transmission of Dengue fever in Europe is linked to international travelers.

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More than one-third of the world’s population is living in areas at risk for Dengue infection, according to Healthmap.org.  As many as 400 million people are infected yearly with Dengue.

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Travelers returning from areas where dengue virus transmission occurs should be advised to seek medical attention if presenting symptoms compatible with Dengue fever in the first two weeks after return.

Symptomatic patients should be advised on how to apply personal protective measures against mosquito bites in order to prevent further transmission, said the ECDC.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced recently that Dengvaxia, a new vaccine against the Dengue virus, should only be administered to individuals who have been confirmed to have the infection.

This WHO suggestion requires people to be tested with an assay system that is not currently available. 

This means for most people, there is currently no vaccine or medicine to prevent dengue.

One vaccine candidate, TAK-003 is in Phase 3 clinical study.

Produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, TAK-003 is comprised of a molecularly cloned attenuated strain of dengue serotype 2 (DENV-2) and engineered strains of dengue serotypes 1, 3 and 4 (DENV-1, DENV-3, and DENV-4).

The US CDC says travelers who go to tropical and subtropical regions are at risk of getting Dengue. These areas include parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America, Western Pacific Islands, Australia, Southeast Asia, and Africa.