As of 9 December 2012, the Portuguese Ministry of Health has reported 2 050 cases of dengue infection from the Autonomous Region of Madeira. During the current outbreak, 121 people have been hospitalised and no deaths or cases of severe dengue have been reported. Two patients remained in hospital as of 9 December 2012.
All reported cases refer to the resident population of the island. However, a number of visiting tourists have been diagnosed with dengue infection after developing symptoms back in their home countries. As of 12 December 2012, fifty-eight patients have been diagnosed with dengue after returning from Madeira. The United Kingdom has reported twenty cases, Germany fourteen cases, France three, Finland four, Croatia, Denmark, Norway and Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have all reported one case each. In addition, ten persons were diagnosed with dengue infection after returning to mainland Portugal.
The updated figures indicate that the outbreak has peaked and despite an important decrease of the number of notified cases reported, the outbreak is still on-going. Therefore, more cases among the island’s population as well as among returning tourists should be expected.
The main breeding period of the dengue mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, will continue until the beginning of next year and coincides with a peak in the number of visitors to the island over the Christmas holidays.
Therefore, residents and travellers visiting the island of Madeira are strongly advised to take individual protective measures (like using repellents) to avoid mosquito bites. Dengue is transmitted by a daytime mosquito and consequently protective measures must be applied throughout the day. Travellers experiencing febrile symptoms with severe headache, retro-orbital pain, myalgia, arthralgia and maculo-papular rash within 21 days of visiting Madeira are advised to seek medical advice.
ECDC has provided technical assistance to the health authorities in Madeira in their efforts to control the outbreak by deploying a team of experts to the island (22 October to 16 November 2012). On 20 November 2012, ECDC published an updated rapid risk assessment concerning the autochthonous dengue cases in Madeira which outlines the measures implemented in response to the outbreak. ECDC continues to gather information on confirmed cases reported by EU/EEA Member States.
Blood donor deferral for 28 days from day of departure for travellers returning from the Autonomous region of Madeira is now recommended for all Member States, in accordance with section 2.3, Annex III of the Commission Directive 2004/33/EC of 22 March 2004.
Read more on the ECDC website:
Update of the ECDC rapid risk assessment on autochthonous dengue cases in Madeira
Factsheet on dengue for health professionals
Guidelines for the surveillance of invasive mosquitoes in Europe
General Directorate for Health - DGS (in Portuguese)
Health Administration Institute and Health Affairs of Madeira - SRAS (in Portuguese)