British holidaymakers travelling to Spain have been warned of a Dengue-fever outbreak in popular tourist hotspots including Ibiza and Majorca. Spanish authorities have said they are stepping up their efforts to track and control the activity of the infected mosquitoes that spread the illness after it is reported six German tourists became ill from the virus last year.
Spain’s Ministry of Health said in a statement: "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.
"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."
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness and although it does not always cause symptoms, there is no vaccine to cure the illness. The NHS says Dengue is an infection spread by mosquitoes. It’s not usually serious and often gets better on its own. Some people get a more severe type of dengue, but this is rare.
The NHS website also states there’s a risk of getting dengue at certain times of the year (spring to November) in parts of southern Europe including Croatia, France, and Portugal.
One confirmed among the German tourists in Ibiza was a 27-year-old woman who was in Ibiza last August with her partner and their 14-month-old daughter. All three had symptoms on August 31, but tests were only performed on the woman who was then diagnosed with dengue.
Another case involves a 37-year-old woman who - with her partner and 12-year-old son - also showed symptoms of the bug on the last day of her October stay.
What is dengue fever?
Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne illness. It does not always cause symptoms, but signs can begin four to 10 days after being bitten. There is no vaccine for the illness.
Symptoms of dengue
The NHS website says Dengue does not always cause symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they usually start 4 to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Some dengue symptoms are similar to flu.
- a high temperature
- a severe headache
- pain behind your eyes
- muscle and joint pain
- feeling or being sick
- swollen glands
- a blotchy rash made up of flat or slightly raised spots – this can affect large areas of your body
According to the World Health Organisation, there is no specific treatment for dengue or its severe forms.