Dengue fever virus particles, TEM. © Science Photo Library

Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease widely spread in tropical and subtropical regions. The disease is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which breed in the peridomestic environment. While most of the clinical cases present a febrile illness, severe forms including hemorrhagic fevers and shock with fatalities are reported. As dengue is a “viral hemorrhagic fever”, the disease is under European surveillance.  It is by far the most important mosquito-borne viral disease affecting humans worldwide; tens of millions of cases occur each year resulting in approximately 20,000-25,000 deaths mainly in children. There are four serologically distinct dengue viruses, so people living in a dengue-endemic area can have several dengue infections in their lifetime. There is currently no vaccine available for dengue. Dengue is endemic in most of the European Overseas Countries, Territories and Departments located in tropical areas. In continental Europe limited outbreaks may occur in areas infested by Aedes albopictus, an invasive mosquito species that spread over the past twenty years.

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