Health authorities on Tuesday called for vigilance after the report of two first cases of local transmission of zika virus in the Var and facing the rise of indigenous cases of dengue in France
Health authorities on Tuesday called for vigilance after the report of two first cases of local transmission of zika virus in the Var and facing the rise of indigenous cases of dengue in France. “These findings encourage health authorities to increase vigilance and disseminate prevention advice to the population” to fight against these diseases, says the Directorate General of Health (DGS) in a statement.
On Monday, the Regional Health Agency (ARS) of Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur announced a second indigenous case of contamination with the zika virus in Hyères (Var), in the same neighbourhood as a previous case reported in early October.
The “indigenous case” means the acquired infections following a mosquito bite in France, as opposed to “imported cases” of people reporting the disease in the territory to return from a trip during which they are made sting. These are the only two cases of autochthonous transmission of this virus observed so far in metropolitan France, according to the ARS, which adds that the two people, whose symptoms date from August, are cured.
It is even “probably” the first indigenous transmission documented in Europe, according to the DGS, which adds that “investigations are continuing to detect possible other cases and prevent the spread of the disease”. Moreover, “since August 1, 2019, seven autochthonous cases of dengue fever have been identified in Vallauris, in the Alpes-Maritimes” and “two other cases have been identified in Calluire, in the Rhone”, ie the “first confirmed indigenous cases of dengue fever in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region “, emphasizes the DGS. Dengue and zika are transmitted from person to person through a tiger mosquito bite (Aedes).
The subgenus present in France, Aedes albopictus, is native to Southeast Asia. Appeared in France in 2004, it is now “permanently installed” in 51 departments. The symptoms of dengue and zika may resemble those of an influenza state, they can be difficult to link to these diseases and are not systematically mentioned, observes the DGS. “This is why health professionals have been made aware of the situation by the concerned ARS”, especially “those who have to take care of pregnant women”, because the zika virus can “cause in rare cases congenital malformations “ in the unborn child.
The authorities also urge ” those returning from a country where dengue, chikungunya or zika viruses circulate” to “protect themselves effectively from mosquitoes, especially if fever occurs within 15 days of their return, so as not to promote the spread of the disease “ , and” to consult without delay their doctor by signaling their recent trip “ .