Since the beginning of the year, the island of Reunion has seen a 10-fold increase in dengue fever cases as compared to the period in 2018, according to French health officials (computer translated).

Aedes mosquito
Aedes aegypti image/CDC

From Jan. 1 to Feb. 3, 476 locally transmitted cases have been reported, including 145 in the past week. During the same period in 2018, 45 cases were reported. The strain circulating remains DEN-2.

Dengue is very active in Saint-Louis, Saint-Louis River, Saint Pierre, La Possession, Les Avirons and Piton Saint-Leu.

Since the beginning of the outbreak, 7346 indigenous (6770 in 2018) and 16 imported cases have been reported, including six fatalities.

The ECDC states that an increased number of dengue cases has been observed in Reunion in the first weeks of 2019 that will likely continue in the coming weeks.

Dengue fever is an infectious disease carried by mosquitoes and caused by any of four related dengue viruses (DENV-2 serotype is prevalent in this outbreak). This disease used to be called “break-bone fever” because it sometimes causes severe joint and muscle pain that feels like bones are breaking.

People get the dengue virus from the bite of an infected Aedes mosquito. It is not contagious from person to person.

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There are three types of dengue fever in order of less severe to most: the typical uncomplicated dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever (DHS) and dengue shock syndrome (DSS).