An unusually short blog, but for once good news – so can’t wait to share it! Very important news for an island that depends almost exclusively on tourism for its future.
UK investigators, including some from the University of Oxford, have concluded that Madeira has “climatic cycles incompatible with the dengue virus”. The discovery, published this month in a scientific magazine, was made after the outbreak that occurred in the archipelago in 2012, when it infected more than two thousand people.
According to the authors, sufficient tropical temperatures are not present in Madeira in the colder months, and this interferes with the ability of the dengue virus to reproduce inside the mosquito. They conclude therefore that “the island has a natural defence against the sustainability of the virus in the territory – which would have been the determining factor in the end of the 2012 epidemic in December of that year”.
The dengue outbreak in Madeira was the first long-term epidemic in Europe, becoming an event of great importance both locally and to the rest of the continent (81 cases were “exported” from the island). The World Health Organization estimates that about 3.5 billion people live in countries already affected or at risk of being affected by dengue, a virus that is transmitted by mosquito bites.
Another report in the United States, also published in the last few days agrees with the findings, but issues a warning to the health authorities not to become complacent, stating: “Using key estimates, together with local climate data, we further propose that there is little support for dengue endemicity on this island, but a high potential for future epidemic outbreaks when seeded between May and August—a period when detection of imported cases is crucial for Madeira’s public health planning”. http://tinyurl.com/oee97hl