The number of imported dengue fever cases reported in Italy has increased during the first months of 2017, according to the Ministero della Salute Monday.

An Aedes aegypti mosquito prepares to bite a human. Image/USDA
An Aedes aegypti mosquito prepares to bite a human.

From the beginning of the year through Apr. 3, 25 imported dengue cases have been reported in returning Italian travelers. This number is about half the cases reported in all of 2016.

Dengue is endemic in at least 100 countries in Asia, Pacific, Americas, Africa and the Caribbean. It is estimated that currently about 2.5 billion people, 40% of the world’s population live in areas at risk of transmitting dengue.

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The Ministero della Salute says since there is no vaccine against dengue in Italy, it is important that people who intend to go to endemic countries apply personal prevention measures:

  • Inquire on the dengue situation in the country you are planning to visit.
  • Use clothing that minimizes skin exposure to mosquito bites
  • Apply repellents on exposed skin or clothing. The use of repellents must be strictly in accordance with the instructions given on the label
  • Use mosquito nets treated with insecticide at night and when resting during the day
  • Use spray insecticides, antiperspirants or other insecticide vaporizers in the interior of the house. Devices such as door and window mosquito nets and air conditioners can reduce bites
  • Know the symptoms of dengue
  • Contact a physician in the event of symptoms of dengue-compatible symptoms when traveling or returning home as they are in areas at risk of transmitting dengue and mentioning the trip you just made.
  • These measures are also useful against other mosquito-borne infections, such as chikungunya and Zika, which have a largely overlapping geographic distribution.