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Dengue in Mainland Spain (Murcia, Cadiz and Madrid)

10 Oct 2018

According to mediaLink quoting public health authorities, two residents of Alhama de Murcia have been diagnosed with locally acquired dengue. The two people became unwell in late August, having travelled within Murcia, as well as to Mardia and Cadiz. They had not travelled to any other country, leading public health authorities to conclude that the infection was acquired in Spain. 

Aedes albopictus, the Asian tiger mosquito that transmits dengue virus, is common in Spain.

Advice for Travellers

All travellers to regions where dengue occurs are potentially at risk of dengue fever and should be aware of this infection. Prevention relies on avoiding mosquito bites.

Aedes mosquitoes are particularly persistent and aggressive and bite between dawn and dusk.

Methods of bite avoidance include:

• Wearing long, loose, lightly coloured clothing to cover up the skin during the day.

• The use of insect repellent containing DEET applied to any exposed skin between dawn and dusk.

• When sunscreen and DEET are used together, DEET should be applied after sunscreen. The effectiveness of repellent reduces more rapidly than sunscreen, therefore, repellent may have to be reapplied on top of sunscreen.

• The use of permethrin, impregnated mosquito nets protects against early morning bites and should also be used when sleeping during the day.

• The use of air conditioning if available and/or mesh screening of windows and doors.

• Eradication of mosquito breeding sites around accommodation/home (e.g. open containers, old tyres or flower pots that may collect water).

Vaccine

There is no vaccine against dengue fever licensed in the UK.

At present the World Health Organisation (WHO) is trialling several candidate vaccines against dengue fever.

For further information see Dengue Fever.