The World Health Organisation has confirmed that an outbreak of dengue fever has been reported on the Portuguese Island of Madeira. As of 10 October 2012, a total of 18 confirmed cases and 191 probable cases have been reported.
The Public Health Authorities of Portugal are implementing control measures to reduce the risk of sustained transmission locally, to minimize the impact on the affected population and to prevent the export of infected vectors from the island.
Dengue fever is transmitted by the bite of an Aedes mosquito infected with any one of the four dengue viruses. Symptoms, which appear from 3-14 days after infection, range from mild fever to incapacitating high fever with severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pains and rash.
The public are advised to take individual protective measures during the day to reduce mosquito bites if travelling to areas with dengue fever outbreak.
WHO is supporting the Portuguese Ministry of Health to rapidly develop additional vector control guidance with a specific emphasis on vector control in port settings.
WHO encourages public health authorities in neighboring geographical areas and other Member States to assess the risk for the establishment of Aedes mosquito population and the introduction of dengue in their territories.
Travellers diagnosed with dengue on return from affected areas should be reported to the surveillance systems.