Dengue Fever: As Ibiza health officials issue a warning, should tourists be worried?

Health authorities are urging tourists to watch out for symptoms of Dengue fever in Ibiza this summer.
Health authorities are urging tourists to watch out for symptoms of Dengue fever in Ibiza this summer. Copyright canva
By Charlotte Elton
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Spanish health officials have of ‘moderate’ Dengue fever risk on Ibiza this summer.

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Ibiza health chiefs have urged tourists to watch out for symptoms of Dengue fever.

The Balearic Island experienced several outbreaks of the nasty mosquito-borne virus between May and November last year.

There is a “moderate” risk that tourists could catch it this summer, health authorities have warned.

So what are the symptoms to watch out for - and how can you protect yourself?

How many tourists got Dengue fever in Ibiza last year?

Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes infected by a dengue virus. The disease is common in areas with hot, humid climates - environments in which mosquitoes thrive.

It is not contagious so it cannot be spread from person to person. However, a person suffering from the virus can infect mosquitoes, who in turn spread it further.

Six German tourists caught the virus in Ibiza between May and November last year. A 27-year-old woman, her partner, and their 13-month-old daughter contracted the virus in August 2022. Another family - a 37-year-old woman, her partner, and their nine-year-old son - are suspected to have contracted the virus in the same town in October 2022.

The risk of contracting the virus is currently low, but will rise to moderate over the summer.

“One of the potential vectors of dengue is the Aedes albopictus mosquito, present throughout the area, the Spanish Mediterranean and the Balearic Islands and also in some areas of the interior and north of the country,” a spokesperson for the Spanish Ministry of Health said.

“After learning about the cases, the authorities of the Balearic Islands have planned actions such as pertinent surveillance and vector control and also communication and information to the public, to be carried out before and during the start of the vector activity season.”

Canva
Ibiza is well known for its beaches - but health authorities have issued a warning for travellers.Canva

What are the symptoms of Dengue fever?

Nearly 100 million cases of Dengue occur every year. Up to three quarters of people who contract dengue fever will be asymptomatic.

People who do get sick can experience mild or severe symptoms including fever, nausea and vomiting, and a rash. Aches and pains in the joints, bones, muscles, and behind the eyes are also warning signs.

These start between four and 10 days after the mosquito bite. If you suspect you have the virus, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Although most people will recover without treatment after about a week, around one in 20 people experience severe symptoms and should go to the emergency room immediately. The risk is elevated for those who have previously been infected with the virus.

Belly pain, vomiting blood, and bleeding from the nose or gums are symptoms of severe dengue.

How can you protect yourself from Dengue?

There is a dengue vaccine approved for use in the European Union, but it is only recommended for use in those who have already had the virus once before.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being bitten by a mosquito. Wear long-sleeved clothing, use repellent, and sleep under a mosquito net.

Where is Dengue fever found in Europe?

Dengue fever is very common in tropical and subtropical areas - but relatively rare in Europe.

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During the summer months, it has been found in the following European countries:

· Croatia

· France

· Italy

· Spain

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· Portugal and Madeira

As climate change heats up the globe, the virus is likely to spread north.

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