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France's La Reunion Island Confirms Expanding Dengue Outbreak

April 3, 2021 • 12:36 pm CDT
(Vax Before Travel)

Since the start of 2021, France's Department of Reunion Island located east of Africa in the Indian Ocean has reported 1,292 dengue cases, confirmed by the European CDC on March 24, 2021.

The majority of dengue cases have been reported from the city of Le Port, with about 34,000 residents located at the northwest corner of Réunion.

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral infection that is common in warm, tropical climates. The competent vectors of dengue, Aedes aegypti, and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes are found on La Réunion island.

Dengue disease is caused by any one of four closely related viruses (serotypes) that often lead to a wide spectrum of symptoms, including extremely mild cases requiring medical intervention, says the U.S. CDC.

Although rare, ophthalmologic manifestations (loss of vision) have been reported in some patients one week after the onset of the first symptoms of dengue in Reunion.

Reunion launched a public information campaign to reduce dengue outbreaks, encouraging residents to implement preventive measures, such as protecting themselves and their loved ones from mosquito bites, eliminating anything that may contain water around their home, and quickly consult a doctor in the event of symptoms.

The World Health Organization recommends the Dengvaxia vaccine be given to persons with confirmed prior dengue virus infection. However, there may be at risk of developing severe dengue if they get dengue after being vaccinated.

Dengvaxia (CYD-TDV) is a live attenuated tetravalent chimeric vaccine made using recombinant DNA technology by replacing the PrM (pre-membrane) and E (envelope) structural genes of yellow fever attenuated 17D strain vaccine and is indicated for the prevention of dengue disease caused by dengue virus serotypes 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Other dengue vaccines are conducting clinical trials.

To notify international travelers, the U.S. CDC issued a Level 1 Travel Alert on March 1, 2021, regarding dengue outbreaks in many parts of Africa and the Middle East (map).

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