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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Italy raises dengue border alert level

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Rome: Italy’s Ministry of Health has raised the border alert level for dengue fever in response to the global increase in cases and warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) against the spread of the disease.

The mosquito-borne illness usually occurs in tropical and subtropical areas. Mild dengue fever causes a high fever and flu-like symptoms.

Italy is among the first countries in Europe to raise the border alert level. The elevated alert level, imposed on Tuesday, entails increased checks at international arrival points and staff training to identify travelers with potential dengue symptoms.

Currently, dengue is still relatively rare in Italy. According to the High Institute for Health (ISS), Italy saw 362 cases last year, of which 82 were contracted within the country. ISS also reported one fatality due to the disease in 2023.

However, the risks appear to be on the rise amid changing weather patterns, and Italian media reports said Wednesday that Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, the country’s main infectious disease center, has begun stockpiling vaccines for dengue.

According to the WHO, since the beginning of 2023, ongoing transmission, combined with an unexpected spike in dengue cases, has resulted in close to a historic high of over 5 million cases and more than 5,000 dengue-related deaths in over 80 countries and territories.

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