The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has issued an alert regarding an uncharacteristically large outbreak of dengue fever in Réunion, France.
The first wave of the outbreak was observed in 2018, with a peak in April-May 2018. A second higher wave was observed earlier this year. Since the beginning of 2019 and as of 11 June, over 15,000 autochthonous confirmed cases of dengue had been reported. Nine deaths were reported among the cases in 2019, with dengue being identified as the direct cause of death for five.
The outbreak is exceptionally large compared to outbreaks recorded over the past 15 years.
The ECDC says the likelihood of onward transmission of dengue virus (DENV) in the European Union/European Economic Area (EU/EEA) is associated with the probability of importation of the virus by viraemic travellers into receptive areas, defined as locations with established and active competent vectors.
The ECDC says EU/EEA Member States should consider applying safety measures to prevent the transmission of DENV through donations of substances of human origin (SoHO) from travellers returning from the area.
The agency advises that symptomatic patients should use personal protective measures to prevent onward transmission.