From the parks of Marseille to the gardens of the Parisian suburbs, there is a subtle anger against the tiger mosquito. The unusual heat at the end of October cannot be used. Insects, usually stunned by the cold or dead, will redouble their activity this year. To feed the eggs they are about to lay, females will draw on their favorite source: our blood. This observation, which is painful for lovers of autumn aperitifs, also worries health authorities, for an entirely different reason: the persistentAedes albopictus increases the risk of a second wave of autochthonous dengue after an already unique season in the history of vector-borne diseases in France.
The Public Health Agency of France published on Tuesday the 25th. his latest statistics. With 217 cases of dengue imported by travelers returning from infected countries, the year might seem ordinary, almost quiet. But the authorities recorded 65 so-called “indigenous” cases, in other words observed in people who did not leave the metropolis. It was here, by the French “tigers”, that they were contaminated.
The distribution of these infections remains fairly consistent with previous years. They are concentrated in the south of France, there are 51 in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 12 more in Occitania and the last two in Corsica. But the table brings several novelties. Its scale, first: we haven’t seen more than twelve cases in a season so far. This record is swept away. With 34 cases observed in the three neighboring towns of Saint-Jeannet, Gattières and Gaude (Alpes-Maritimes), the metropolis is recording an outbreak of unprecedented magnitude. No one has officially used the word epidemic, but it would not be offensive to several epidemiologists. New territories were hit. “In Corsica, in Toulouse, in Montauban, the virus will reach the departments spared so far”points out Marie-Claire Patyová, coordinator of the surveillance of vector-borne diseases in public health in France.
Finally, many cases were declared between late August and early October. It must be admitted that the second half of summer is traditionally the riskiest period. The concentration of mosquitoes is strongest there, and the return of tourists from dengue-endemic countries offers the insects the opportunity to bite infected people, become contaminated, and then go on to contaminate other people who thought they were sheltering. However, these two factors played a huge role this year. After two years of Covid-19, the French have started traveling again. And the exceptionally warm weather encouraged the growth of insects and their spread across the territory.
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