- by Alison Booth

Dengue is spreading across Africa and it’s making its way into Europe

A map of Africa. A text overlay reads, 'Dengue is spreading across Africa and it's making its way into Europe'.

Dengue is spreading its reach around the globe. In 2019, we’ve taken a closer look back at the 2018 dengue season across the Asia Pacific and the dengue trends in the Caribbean and in the Americas. We brought news of fresh outbreaks across both regions as well as stories of new strategies to help countries to respond to the dengue threat. The story for both Africa and Europe was more negative with outbreaks spreading to new locations. Find out how dengue impacted the continents’ countries in 2018.

New dengue outbreaks in Africa

Dengue in Africa became more and more common during 2018. Across the continent, new outbreaks were reported in Senegal, Mauritania, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Angola, adding to the ongoing outbreak in Seychelles. Meanwhile, Burkina Faso’s 2017 dengue outbreak subsided early in 2018.

Angola in 2018 with five dengue deaths out of a total of 1,339 cases as of late October 2018 – the largest outbreak in the country since 2013 when 1,245 cases were recorded, with 11 deaths. The country recorded only 66 cases and one death in 2016, and 176 cases with four deaths in 2017.
As of late October, Seychelles had reported 6,120 dengue cases since its dengue outbreak began in December 2015, with 1,511 of those confirmed. While case numbers slowed between June and August, they had started to rise again by late October.

Dengue cases were down in Burkina Faso in 2018 compared with the 15,096 dengue cases and 30 dengue deaths in 2017. Dengue numbers had begun to decrease in the last quarter of 2017; during the first quarter of 2018, Burkina Faso reported 909 suspected cases and three deaths.

Elsewhere, the Senegal Ministry of Health declared its outbreak over towards the end of December after 2,981 suspected dengue cases, with 342 of those confirmed. Dengue was reported in Tanzania in the first half of 2018, with 226 cases with no deaths. An outbreak of dengue in Ethiopia started in June and involved 127 suspected cases. Mauritania reported 322 dengue cases with no deaths during October and November.

Dengue is spreading into Europe

The threat of dengue in Europe is also on the rise. Health authorities in the EU reported locally-acquired cases of dengue in France and Spain during late 2018.

Spain reported six locally-acquired dengue cases from three different regions during the second half of the year. Three cases were members of the same family, first experiencing symptoms late in August after spending time together in Murcia and Cádiz. The Catalan Public Health Agency (ASPCAT) confirmed its first case of autochthonous dengue early in November. Murcia also reported two dengue cases in November.

Similarly, France reported eight locally acquired dengue cases from three different regions during the second half of 2018, in addition to 189 imported cases: five dengue cases were detected in the Alpes-Maritimes department in September and October 2018; two cases occurred in the Hérault department at the end of September and beginning of October; one further case of dengue was identified in the Gard department in October.

Did your country experience a new dengue outbreak in 2018? How did it start? How did people react?

Isn’t it time to raise dengue awareness on a global level? Click below to sign the petition for an official #WorldDengueDay. 

A blue square with text reading, 'World Dengue Day' to promote the online dengue petition raising dengue awareness