Chikungunya fever in EU/EEA Archived

Chikungunya in EU/EEA

In August 2007, an outbreak of autochthonous chikungunya virus infections was declared for the first time in Europe. More than 200 human cases were found in Italy, in two small towns close to Ravenna, in the Emilia Romagna province, on the Adriatic coast of Italy. The vector was Aedes albopictus, which was very abundant in the area. The virus was introduced by a traveller who came back from South-West India where the virus was spread. It was the first outbreak documented in a temperate climate country. In France, autochthonous cases linked to imported cases were detected in 2010 (two cases) in Fréjus, Var district and 2014 in Montpellier suburb, Herault district (12 cases).

What is ECDC doing?

After the chikungunya fever outbreaks in the Indian Ocean in 2005–2006 and in Italy in 2007, ECDC established a network for arthropod vector surveillance for human public health in order to improve the surveillance of vectors for infectious diseases (VBORNET). From 2014 the network VectorNet was extended to provide data on the geographic distribution of arthropod vectors, transmitting human and animal disease agents. 

The vector distribution maps are published regularly on the website to provide the ECDC stakeholders and the general public with the most up-to-date information on vector distribution, showing the distribution of the vector species.

In 2012 ECDC published ‘Guidelines for the surveillance of invasive mosquitoes in Europe’ (link), focusing on mosquito species that are spreading to Europe being introduced by travel, trade and then establishing themselves when appropriate conditions are available.

As chikungunya fever is a disease where the risk of infection in the European region is mainly associated to travelling, ECDC continuously monitors the epidemiological situation both in Europe and worldwide by issuing risk assessments and epidemiological updates. 

Chikungunya fever emergence in the Americas

For the first time in the American region, an outbreak of chikungunya fever was reported in the Caribbean from the French part of the island of Saint Martin on 6 December 2013. Since then, autochthonous transmission of chikungunya fever has spread to in the Caribbean, and quickly in Central, North and South America.