Warning after tourists returning from UK holiday hotspot | UK | News

An urgent warning has been issued by the Foreign Office after tourists returning from a popular UK holiday hotspot were diagnosed with a 17th-century disease.

Cases of a serious illness have been detected in Europe this month after being brought back from a popular holiday destination for UK travellers, prompting a warning.

The Foreign Office-backed travel health website reported that since June 10, three cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Italy.

All three travellers had visited the resort of Sharm El-Sheikh for a short holiday in May 2024.

Dengue fever, a potentially fatal infection spread by mosquitoes, was historically called ‘bone break fever’ due to the intense muscle and joint pain it causes.

Travellers to Egypt are being warned about the symptoms and advised to take preventative measures to avoid infection.

Besides Sharm El-Sheikh, a similar outbreak has affected French tourists, many of whom had returned from Guadeloupe or Martinique, territories with historical colonial ties to France.

France has reported 600 more cases of dengue fever since last month, leading health experts to issue warnings about the tropical disease.

Symptoms typically appear four to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, making early detection crucial.

Dengue doesn’t always cause immediate symptoms. According to the NHS, some symptoms resemble the flu. In rare cases, a more severe form of dengue can develop a few days after initial symptoms subside, with serious symptoms appearing 24 to 48 hours later.

Climate change is contributing to the spread of diseases like dengue and cholera, expanding their reach into new areas.

Argentina has seen a dramatic increase in dengue cases, from 3,220 in 2019 to 488,035 this year.

As mosquitoes move northward, southern Europe is experiencing more cases. Italy reported its first locally acquired case in 2020 and saw an increase to 67 cases in 2023.

In France, cases rose from 9 in 2019 to 65 in 2023, a 7.2-fold increase.

Airfinity’s Biorisk analyst Kristan Piroeva told Wales Online: “Cases of dengue, which most people think of as a tropical disease, are growing in non-endemic countries.

“As temperatures continue to rise, we could see the disease becoming endemic in southern Europe. Airfinity’s global overview of dengue incidence shows nearly half the world’s population may now be at risk of dengue infection.

“An increase in surveillance and testing for disease also plays a significant role in today’s analysis. By enhancing our monitoring capabilities, we can better track the spread of these diseases and implement timely interventions to mitigate their impact.” More than half of the world’s population could be at risk of catching diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria and dengue by the end of the century, scientists have warned.

In the UK, data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) reveals that imported malaria cases surpassed 2,000 last year for the first time in over two decades. There were 2,004 confirmed malaria cases in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland in 2023, up from 1,369 in 2022.

The UKHSA attributes this increase to the resurgence of malaria in various countries and a rise in international travel following the lifting of pandemic restrictions. Globally, dengue cases reported to the World Health Organization have surged eight-fold over the past 20 years, from 500,000 in 2000 to over five million in 2019.

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