Brit expats in Canaries at risk from yellow fever and dengue

Published:  22 Dec at 6 PM
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Tagged: Travel Abroad
Both expats and tourists on the island of Fuerteventura are now believed to be at risk of contracting either dengue fever or yellow fever, according to local health officials.

The Canary Islands archipelago is a favourite destination for Brit expats and tourists alike, but the recent discovery in Fuerteventura of mosquitoes carrying yellow fever and dengue fever could put residents and visitors at high risk of illness and even death. Health officials recently discovered mosquitoes carrying the two potentially fatal viruses on the Las Granadas residential estate, and are warning residents to use extra protection against the flying menaces, especially in the evenings.

Mosquito traps have been set, and a number of homes owned by British expatriates have been fumigated, and surveys of surrounding properties havre been done. The island is gearing up for its busiest tourist season amid fears of an outbreak of one or both of the diseases, and local British owners of visitor-focused businesses are worried of a possible flood of cancellations after a British tabloid newspaper published the news.

The Canary Islands are set offshore from the African continent where yellow fever is endemic, with experts considering the possibility of recent high winds blowing infected mosquitoes from the mainland. The infection takes from three to six days to develop, with symptoms including chills and fevers, nausea, muscle pains and severe headaches. It’s short-lived in general, but improving symptoms after five days can be followed by a second, more dangerous stage including liver and kidney damage which may prove fatal. Those planning to travel to Fuerteventura on a winter sunshine break are advised to get a vaccination 10 days before travelling.

Dengue fever begins between three and 14 days after a bite by an infected mosquito. Symptoms include weakness, a skin rash on the chest and back, vomiting, debilitating muscle pain, a high fever and severe headaches. In a small number of cases, the infection develops into dengue haemorrhagic fever, life-threatening for its effect on the immune system and leakage of blood plasma. A further development, dengue shock syndrome, causes dangerously low blood pressure and can also result in death, whilst recovery from dengue can take several months. A vaccine was recently launched, but has been withdrawn for further research.
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