Press Release 13th December, 2012: European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

‘As of 9 December 2012, the Portuguese Ministry of Health has reported 2 050 cases of dengue infection from the Autonomous Region of Madeira. During the current outbreak, 121 people have been hospitalised and no deaths or cases of severe dengue have been reported. Two patients remained in hospital as of 9 December 2012.

All reported cases refer to the resident population of the island. However, a number of visiting tourists have been diagnosed with dengue infection after developing symptoms back in their home countries. As of 12 December 2012, fifty-eight patients have been diagnosed with dengue after returning from Madeira. The United Kingdom has reported twenty cases, Germany fourteen cases, France three, Finland four, Croatia, Denmark, Norway and Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have all reported one case each. In addition, ten persons were diagnosed with dengue infection after returning to mainland Portugal.

The updated figures indicate that the outbreak has peaked and despite an important decrease of the number of notified cases reported, the outbreak is still on-going. Therefore, more cases among the island’s population as well as among returning tourists should be expected.

The main breeding period of the dengue mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, will continue until the beginning of next year and coincides with a peak in the number of visitors to the island over the Christmas holidays.

Therefore, residents and travellers visiting the island of Madeira are strongly advised to take individual protective measures (like using repellents) to avoid mosquito bites. Dengue is transmitted by a daytime mosquito and consequently protective measures must be applied throughout the day. Travellers experiencing febrile symptoms with severe headache, retro-orbital pain, myalgia, arthralgia and maculo-papular rash within 21 days of visiting Madeira are advised to seek medical advice’.