France reported a first case of dengue fever infection on its mainland Monday, in the southern city of Nice, and is trying to kill mosquitoes which might be carrying the deadly disease in the area.
The health ministry said it could not exclude an epidemic, and authorities have asked residents to take measures such as using mosquito nets and removing places where mosquito larvae can grow.
“This is an isolated case and no other has yet been noticed. The patient is better and in good health,” the ministry said in a statement.
“To prevent any spread of the virus, epidemiological and entomological surveillance measures will be reinforced. Mosquito control measures have been undertaken around the area where the affected person lives,” it said.
“The risk of an epidemic is deemed limited but cannot be excluded, because of the significant numbers of tiger mosquitoes in the area,” it added.
Dengue, transmitted to humans by female Aedes mosquitoes, causes a flu-like illness for most victims. One strain of it can cause internal bleeding and it can lead to death.
Because of the risk of haemorrhaging, it is essential not to take aspirin or anti-inflammatory medication when infected.
While this is the first infection reported in France, its overseas territories of Martinique and Guadeloupe have been hit by a dengue epidemic which peaked in August.
Since it erupted in February, 32,600 cases have been detected in Martinique, with 432 people hospitalised and 13 deaths. Guadeloupe saw five dengue-related deaths.