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26 August 2014 09:36
Dengue is a viral infection spread by mosquitoes
Climate change could increase the risk of holidaymakers coming into contact with dengue fever in Europe, experts have warned.
Dengue is a common viral infection which is widespread in tropical and sub-tropical regions where mosquitoes flourish, typically in areas with a warm and humid climate.
Those visiting areas of the world where dengue is present would be wise to make sure they have travel insurance, which can offer real peace of mind.
People who are travelling with an existing health condition such as diabetes should also make sure they arrange pre-existing medical travel insurance as research carried out at the Federal University in Brazil has previously highlighted a link between the two conditions.
Symptoms of dengue include a high temperature that can reach 41ºC; headache, p ain behind the eyes; and bone, muscle and joint pain.
People who develop such symptoms within two weeks of being abroad are urged to see their GP so they can help to manage the illness, which usually clears up within a couple of weeks.
However, many people travelling to European holiday destinations may not suspect they have dengue as it has not been highly associated with the region.
But experts warned such instances may become more common if climate change continues on its current trajectory.
In particular, they said visitors to coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas could face a greater risk, as well as tourists heading to the north-eastern part of Italy, especially the Po Valley.
Researchers from UEA's Norwich Medical School made their predictions using data from Mexico, where dengue is present. Using variables such as temperature, humidity and rainfall, they were able to come up with a model of where the illness might begin to pop up more often in the future, with details of their findings published in the journal BMC Public Health.
Cases of dengue fever are already on the rise, according to Public Health England, which revealed that there was a 58% increase among Britons returning home b etween 2012 and 2013. The health body also noted that there had been a rise in the number of cases linked to travel to Barbados.
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