Lavandula multifida.jpg

Dengue fever in Madeira

Following the confirmation of 14 dengue cases in Madeira and more than 34 suspected cases by Madeira’s Health Administration Institute last week, the island is now at risk of an “outbreak”,.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection which causes a flu-like illness mostly affecting Asian and Latin American countries, though the infection was detected in Madeira several years ago in captured mosquitoes (Aedes aegypti).

Dengue’s main symptom is fever, which can last up to 14 days. There is no risk of contagion through infected people and dengue takes around seven days to manifest itself following the bite.

The detection of the cases has led Madeira’s health services to recommend putting commercial planes of the region under anti-insect treatment.

The main problem, however, is that the insects are highly resistant to insecticides, meaning prevention is key.

Ana Nunes, President of Madeira’s Health Institute, said at a press conference last week: “We have confirmed dengue in Madeira and we have a public health problem in the sense that we have to invest more and more in prevention.”

The report recommends that suspicious symptoms are reported to a doctor and calls for people not to take aspirin. It has also been advised that all currently in Madeira or travelling to the destination should cover up their bodies as much as possible, use mosquito repellent and sleep in air-conditioned residences that have mosquito protection nets.