Home Health & Wellness Dengue Fever Cases Rise Among Travellers Returning from Egypt to Germany

Dengue Fever Cases Rise Among Travellers Returning from Egypt to Germany

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In 2023, Germany experienced a significant rise in dengue fever cases among travellers returning from Egypt, with a notable concentration of cases along the Red Sea Coast, predominantly in Hurghada. This surge in dengue infections marks a sharp increase from previous years, highlighting a growing concern for public health officials and travellers alike.

Dengue fever, caused by the dengue virus (DENV), is typically transmitted through mosquito bites. The most common vector is the Aedes aegypti mosquito, known for breeding in urban areas. Symptoms of dengue fever can range from mild fever and skin rash to more severe forms, such as dengue haemorrhagic fever or dengue shock syndrome. But a significant proportion of DENV infections remain asymptomatic.

The findings were published in the journal Eurosurveillance.

In 2023, 36 cases of dengue fever were reported among Germans who had visited Egypt, a stark contrast to the zero to eight annual cases reported between 2017 and 2022. The increase in dengue cases outpaced the growth in traveller numbers to Egypt, suggesting a heightened risk of transmission in the region, particularly in urban areas like Hurghada.

The majority of the affected individuals had stayed in private residences in the Hurghada region. This rise in cases among those staying in private residences, as opposed to hotels, points to a possible higher risk of infection in non-hotel accommodations. Mosquito control in these areas is challenging, with breeding sites often located on private balconies and roofs, making public control efforts difficult.

German health authorities notified their Egyptian counterparts of these findings via the International Health Regulation mechanism. These efforts aim to shed light on the transmission situation in Egypt and prompt effective measures to curb the spread of the virus.

While the overall number of dengue cases from various destinations exceeded 900 in 2023, returning to pre-COVID-19 pandemic levels, the situation in Egypt is particularly concerning. The re-emergence of Ae. aegypti in Egypt, particularly on the Red Sea Coast, has been noted in recent years. This resurgence follows the vector’s eradication during the DDT era and suggests a need for renewed vigilance and mosquito control efforts in the region.

Tourists travelling to areas with known DENV transmission, such as the Egyptian Red Sea Coast, should take proactive measures to protect themselves from mosquito bites. This includes using repellents, wearing long-sleeved clothing, and being aware of potential breeding sites. Physicians treating patients with unexplained fever after returning from Egypt should consider dengue fever as a possible diagnosis and seek laboratory confirmation.

This increase in dengue cases among travellers from Egypt underscores the importance of continuous monitoring and control of mosquito populations, especially in tourist hotspots. Effective mosquito control and public health measures are crucial to prevent further spread of the virus and protect both local residents and international visitors.

The situation also highlights the interconnectedness of global health, where diseases can quickly cross borders with travellers. As such, international cooperation and vigilance in disease surveillance and control are essential in managing the spread of infectious diseases like dengue fever.

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