Dengue outbreak in Madeira, Portugal, October – November 2012

Risk assessment

On 3 October 2012, Portugal reported two cases of autochthonous dengue virus infection in the Autonomous Region of Madeira (Portugal). When a few days later the Institute of Health and Social Affairs (Instituto de Administração da Saúde e Assuntos Sociais) reported 18 confirmed and 191 probable cases, it had become clear that this constituted a noteworthy outbreak of dengue in Madeira.
This report covers the activities and findings of the ECDC mission to Madeira from 22 October to 7 November 2012.

Executive summary

Following an invitation from the local authorities, ECDC sent a team of experts to Madeira in autumn 2012 to support the response to the outbreak of dengue fever. This is the first documented outbreak of dengue in Madeira, and only four cases of locally acquired dengue have been reported in the EU/EEA since 2005. ECDC assisted the local authorities with an epidemiological assessment of the situation and guidance for outbreak control. The first report of this outbreak was made on 3 October 2012 and over 2 200 people from across Europe – with the vast majority being identified in Madeira - have been confirmed as being infected to date. 

Mission recommendations

A comprehensive set of recommendations have been made to the local authorities by ECDC following the mission. The recommendations address both the public health aspects of the outbreak as well as the control measures required to reduce the number of mosquitoes that transmit the disease. The recommendations cover issues such as diagnostics to blood safety to raising awareness of how to improve the management of vector control measures. 

Follow up visit, March 2013

An ECDC follow-up mission visited Madeira and Lisbon in earlier this month. The mission’s main focus is the assessment of the activities carried out so far and the planning of the next set of actions according to the current situation and the possible future scenarios.

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