Zika-transmitting Mosquitoes Reach Half of France

Zika Virus

Tiger mosquitoes with the ability to spread dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, and the Zika virus have reached central and southern France. The zealous Asian insects have increased two-fold since 2016 and now have extended their scope to several Paris suburbs and northern neighborhoods.

According to French public health officials, the mosquitoes are infringing on 42 of the country's 96 départements. They are advising that citizens avoid sitting water, in which the creatures thrive, until November.

Leaving an outbreak of dengue fever behind them on the French island Réunion, the mosquitoes could potentially spread the disease in greater France through those returning from vacation there.

"There is a real risk of creating a local cycle of transmission," the health authority said. They added that the south of France experienced eighteen cases of dengue fever in 2014=5, and areas along the Riviera reported seventeen cases of Chikungunya in 2017. Signs of these fevers consist of high body temperatures, watery eyes, rashes, and intense joint discomfort.

Vacationers to Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, or other South American countries may unknowingly carry the Zika virus into France, as well. Signs of the disease resemble the other fevers, with some of those infected showing no symptoms.

However, Zika presents a particular danger to pregnant women, as it can infect the unborn child and create brain-developmental birth defects. Babies with the virus have unusually small heads and sometimes die very young due to neurological issues.

Of the EU nations, the 2015-6 Zika virus outbreak in the Americas impacted France the hardest. France accounted for over half of the reported instances in Europe between 2015 and 2017-- 1,141 out of 2,133.

Public Health France representative Alexandra Sepftons noted that although tiger mosquitoes haven't caused any known cases of Zika in France yet, it's possible that some cases may have gone undetected because of the sometimes symptomless nature of the virus.

To lesson the mosquitoes' breeding capability, health officials are encouraging French citizens to get rid of items that gather rainwater, pack outdoor areas of standing water with sand, and replace vase water as often as possible. They also advise utilising sprays, wearing long sleeves, and taking a photo of any spotted tiger mosquitoes to document their spread.

Southern France authorities have also released certain types of fish and bats to hunt the tiger mosquitoes and keep their numbers low.

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