PARIS has been fumigated for the first time to prevent diseased mosquitoes from spreading dengue fever in the French capital.
Health officials closed roads in two of the city’s suburbs and issued warnings to residents to stay home while pest controllers sprayed potential breeding grounds with insecticides.
This comes after two people contracted the virus abroad, raising fears that the “Asian tiger mosquito” could bite an infected person and start a chain of transmission within the country.
The mosquitoes, which also transmit diseases such as chikungunya and West Nile fever, are becoming more prevalent in France as they spread north of the tropics.
The number of infections infected locally (rather than abroad) hit a record high in 2022, with at least 65 identified – including a 44-year-old British tourist.
According to the European Center for Disease Control (ECDC), increasingly frequent heat waves and severe flooding are creating ideal conditions for tiger mosquitoes to thrive.
The mosquito has also been sighted or nested in 26 European countries, including Spain, Italy and Germany.
“If this continues, we can expect more cases and possibly deaths from diseases like dengue fever,” said Dr. Andrea Ammon, Director of ECDC, previously.
The fumigation in Paris is not the first in France, as pest controllers are taking similar measures in the south of the country to forestall potential outbreaks.
However, mass decontamination projects are more commonly associated with tropical cities such as Central and South America and the Caribbean, where the beetle is native.
Every year, about 400 million people contract the virus, which is sometimes called “broken bone fever” because of the severe joint and muscle pain it causes.
Although cases are generally mild, about 500,000 people are hospitalized with severe symptoms and between 20,000 and 40,000 die each year.
What are the symptoms of dengue fever?
DENGUE is a mosquito-borne infection.
It is usually not serious and often gets better on its own.
If you do have symptoms, they usually start four to 10 days after an infected mosquito bite.
Some dengue symptoms resemble the flu.
- a high temperature
- strong headache
- pain behind your eyes
- muscle and joint pain
- feel sick or be sick
- swollen glands
- a patchy rash made up of flat or slightly raised patches – this can affect large areas of your body
Some people develop a severe form of the virus, but this is rare.
Symptoms of severe dengue fever include:
- severe abdominal pain
- always be sick
- rapid breathing
- bleeding gums or nose
- extreme tiredness (fatigue)
- inability to relax (restlessness)
- blood in your vomit or stool