Increased risk of dengue transmission in Europe and in particular the eastern and southern ones, he believes exists in the immediate future due to climate change, o Professor of Epidemiology-Preventive Medicine EKPA and member of the Board of EODY Dimitris Paraskeviswho, however, clarifies that for the moment there is no such danger for our region.

As he explains in an interview with the FM Agency, a century after the last dengue fever epidemic in our country, at this moment with the climatic conditions that have already prevailed in recent years, the aedes albopictus mosquito (Asian tiger mosquito) has been established with which it is dengue can be transmitted, but not so easily, as it is not the main transmitter. “However, there is an increased risk for a second species of mosquito, which is the main vector associated with the transmission of the disease, the aedes aegypti (tiger mosquito), which is currently established in Cyprus. Also, in other European countries such as Italy and France, local transmission had occurred in 2023.”

To the question of whether there are incidents of dengue fever in Cyprus, since the guilty mosquito has settled there, Mr. Paraskevis answers: “As far as we know, there is no particular problem, however we are cautious, because in Cyprus there is not such effective surveillance.”

What to do during and after returning from tropical trips

For people traveling to, or staying in, tropical areas where mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue are endemic, Mr Paraskevi says they should take scrupulous personal protective measures throughout their trip and for at least three weeks after their return to Greece (regardless of the presence or absence of symptoms, i.e. even if they have not become ill, because they may have an asymptomatic infection but, nevertheless, be “contagious” and infect the mosquitoes that will bite them). These measures include the use of approved body (on the skin and on clothing) and environmental repellents, always in accordance with the instructions for use. These can be screens, mosquito nets, air conditioners and fans. It is also recommended to wear long clothes that cover as much of the body as possible. These measures should be taken throughout the day, as these mosquitoes bite mainly during the day, with most activity in the morning and late afternoon/afternoon to dusk.” Regarding the clinical spectrum of the disease, the professor states that it varies from a mild, non-specific febrile syndrome (with possible accompanying symptoms: headache, myalgias, arthralgias, rash, nausea, vomiting) to severe disease in about 5% of patients (with bleeding events or even circulatory shock), which can even be fatal. “If these people experience suspicious symptoms (e.g. fever, headache, myalgias, arthralgias, rash) during the trip or after their return, they should immediately seek medical attention.”

Are the Olympics an occasion for hyperbroadcasting?

Regarding the question of whether events such as the Olympics that are going to be held in Paris from July 26 to August 11, are an occasion for over-transmission of such diseases, Mr. Paraskevis states: For the West Nile virus due to the fact that the transmissions occur by transmitters (from bird via mosquito to humans) is not an event that significantly increases the risk. In dengue, in order to have transmissions, we must have imported cases from areas where there are the appropriate transmitters, i.e. the dangerous mosquitoes we have already mentioned. So since there will be visitors from endemic areas there is also a relative risk for imported cases. Temporarily, especially in northern Europe, a large number of transmissions have not been reported since previous years. However, the population and especially vulnerable groups must in any case observe the personal protection measures we have mentioned and if they develop symptoms seek medical help as soon as possible. We hope that the organizers will inform and make clear what the preventive measures are so that the risks are limited.”