Dengue Fever and Mosquitoes in France

Information on how to recognise dengue fever and how to protect yourself from it...

Dengue fever is a disease caused by a virus transmitted by some mosquitoes. The Asian Tiger Mosquito (Aedes Albopictus) can be a carrier of this virus. These mosquitoes are increasing in number in southern France, mostly due to favourable climate conditions.

The Tiger Mosquito

The Tiger Mosquito is characterised by its small black and white body, and black and white striped legs. It bites during the day, typically early morning and late afternoon. It prefers the city where the conditions to reproduce are favourable, but rarely enters buildings with air conditioning as it doesn't like cool temperatures. The female lays her eggs near stagnant or running water. One female can lay about 200 eggs, and the mosquitoes appear after seven days. The life cycle of a Tiger Mosquito is 15 days to two months.

Symptoms of Dengue Fever

Dengue fever has an incubation period of three to 14 days (most commonly four to seven days), and is characterised by a sudden onset of high fever, severe frontal headache, and joint and muscle pain. Many patients experience nausea, vomiting, and a rash. The rash appears three to five days after onset of fever and can spread from the torso to the arms, legs and face. The disease is usually a self-limiting one. There are non-specific viral symptoms in many cases, but dengue can also be a severe, sometimes fatal disease characterised by bleeding and low blood pressure (dengue haemorrhagic fever and dengue shock syndrome). No vaccine is currently available.

Avoiding contact with dengue-carrying mosquitoes

The risk of acquiring dengue can be reduced by wearing clothing that adequately covers the arms and legs, especially in the morning and late afternoon, and by applying insect repellent to both skin and clothing. Children and pregnant women should not use insect repellent. The use of air conditioning also repels the mosquitoes. To avoid the incubation of the mosquito, stagnant water must be eliminated. The presence of mosquitoes indicates that there is a breeding site nearby, as they only cover a radius of 200 meters. Finding and eliminating the breeding site, normally found close to stagnant water, is essential.

Further Information

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