Dengue fever is an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes in tropical regions. An autochthonous case, that is to say that the patient did not go to the Tropics, was detected in Andrest in the Hautes-Pyrénées.
Mosquitoes are a plague, their bites cause unpleasant itching, everyone knows it, especially in our department, colonized by the famous tiger mosquito. But, nature never being short of a bad idea, mosquitoes can transmit diseases, such as yellow fever, chikungunya, malaria or the Zika virus. And dengue, which interests us today. Usually, these viral diseases are contracted in tropical regions.
But in the case that has just been detected, the infected person has not been to an area where these viruses circulate. This is called an autochthonous virus. However, the virus did not arrive here as if by magic. There was prior contamination, another person contracted the disease, transmitted by a mosquito, probably in a tropical region, and returned to France, more precisely to Andrest. “Yes, this is called an imported case, detected two weeks ago,” says Louis Dintrans, the mayor of Andrest. There, she was bitten by a “healthy” mosquito, which was itself contaminated and which infected another resident of Andrest in whom the disease was detected. A first mosquito eradication, entrusted to the specialized company Altopictus, took place in the district where the first infected person lives, about fifteen years ago.
Massive mosquito control
The state of health of the two infected people does not, however, inspire concern according to the ARS. But now it’s about breaking the chain of contamination. Because the disease is not transmitted directly from man to man, fortunately, a vector is needed, the mosquito, and in particular one which has been infected and which has been able to infect other people. Who will they themselves be bitten by other healthy mosquitoes who will become carriers of the disease, which they will in turn be able to transmit and so on.
The important thing is therefore to break this infernal chain. “Very quickly, as soon as the case was confirmed, we took the decision to launch a new mosquito control operation in the village, still by Altopictus, to break the chain of contamination”, explains Manon Mordelet, director of ARS 65. “This operation was carried out overnight from Sunday to Monday. At the same time, we distributed leaflets in all the mailboxes of the village, to invite the population to protect themselves from mosquitoes and to consult in case of symptoms. And then on Thursday, we are setting up a vast door-to-door operation with agents from the Regional Health and Public Health Agency France with the inhabitants of the village, to remind them of the protection instructions and invite them to consult in case doubt. »
Louis Dintrans, the mayor of Andrest was advised by Altopictus officials. “They were happy, they were able to treat the desired sectors and were able to enter people’s homes when needed. And there will certainly be a third operation, to clean up the village definitively. »
What symptoms and how to protect yourself?
The symptoms more or less resemble those of the flu, moreover dengue fever is also called “tropical flu”, namely a high fever (> 38.5°), joint and muscle pain, headaches, which are generally not accompanied by coughing and difficulty breathing, unlike a “classic” flu.
Generally, the effects are relatively mild, although debilitating, but can lead to quite serious complications in the elderly or weak. As transmission is via a mosquito, the ideal is to protect yourself from their bites. For this, there are repellents, it is also advisable to wear loose and light-colored clothing. And of course, the best is to eliminate the source, the tiger mosquito, which we know is not very mobile, it only flies within a radius of 150 meters around its place of birth. Conclusion, all stagnant water points, even the smallest ones (gutters, flower pots) must be avoided to prevent its reproduction and proliferation.