It is not yet an epidemic but at least “a cluster”, says Professor Michel Carles. This Wednesday, in front of the press and at the invitation of the Regional Health Agency (ARS) Paca, the head of the infectious and tropical diseases department at the Nice University Hospital came to say the importance of protecting oneself from tiger mosquitoes in several communes of the Alpes-Maritimes. Since August 23, 22 indigenous cases of dengue, transmitted by their bite, have been diagnosed in Saint-Jeannet (15), Gattières (6) and La Gaude (1), revealed the ARS. “And there are still suspicions for which we are awaiting the results of the laboratories”, specifies Romain Alexandre, his departmental delegate.
Fatal in only 0.1% of cases, the infection mostly goes unnoticed. It otherwise causes “flu-like symptoms common to several other diseases”, fever, muscle or joint pain, fatigue or even headaches, and with the risk of developing more or less serious complications, recalls Professor Michel Carles. “A patient was hospitalized with a neurological form. He was in a state of confusion and an epileptic seizure,” he explains.
Consult “immediately” in case of symptoms
This is the first time in the department that such a major outbreak of this disease endemic to tropical and subtropical countries has occurred in people who have not traveled. “But the dissemination is limited. We have families of 3-4 people among these cases. This means that we are not afraid of a strong extension of the chain of transmission”, tempers Jérôme Raybaut, head of the health alerts department at the ARS. Especially since mosquito control operations have been organized around the habitats of each diagnosed patient.
To prevent new contaminations, the body asks in any case more than ever to limit the proliferation of the insect, by eliminating stagnant water points, but also to protect yourself from bites and to “immediately consult your attending physician in presence of suggestive symptoms.
Dengue fever soon to be endemic on the Côte d’Azur?
Rules that will have to be followed to the letter in the years to come “with global warming and tropical conditions which will favor the multiplication of mosquitoes”, supports Professor Michel Carles. Because dengue fever could also become endemic on the Côte d’Azur. “It could be in 10 years, in 20 years, maybe beyond but also maybe faster,” says the specialist.
According to a 2016 study, published in the journal Ebiomedecine, Nice would display by 2060 the highest “epidemic potential of dengue fever” among the major cities of Europe. In front of Athens, Malaga or even Paris.