Sporadic dengue fever cases have been recorded in Cyprus, Director of Medical and Public Health Services, Dr. Elizabeth Constantinou, told CNA on Thursday, noting that primary infection within the Republic of Cyprus seems to have never occurred.
According to Dr. Constantinou, there has not been a particularly elevated number of dengue fever cases in Cyprus, adding that the cases that do occur have to do with people returning from abroad.
Although a primary infection within the Republic does not seem to have occurred, she said she cannot exclude such an event since dengue fever reporting is not compulsory. Therefore, she noted, according to records available to the relevant Ministry, infections from the disease are sporadic.
It is recalled that two confirmed dengue fever cases are being treated at the Special Infections Unit of the Nicosia General Hospital. These are the first two cases in Cyprus at a time when the alarm has been raised in Europe.
Asked if any cases had been recorded in previous years, Dr. Constantinou said that one case was recorded last year, which was imported.
In relation to previous years, she said that "there do not appear to be any patients hospitalized with dengue fever."
Asked if hospitals are ready to deal with such cases, the Director of Medical Services said, "Cyprus has the methods available to diagnose and treat cases."
According to Dr. Constantinou, most people infected with the dengue virus are asymptomatic. Furthermore, she explained that if some cases do show symptoms, these usually include slight fever, headache, malaise and rashes in the mouth that are suggestive of a viral infection.
"A very small percentage of cases manifest severe clinical symptoms and are dangerous to the body," she added.
In relation to the treatment prescribed, she said that the treatment these people receive is conservative, meaning lots of fluids, antipyretics and whatever else is needed to support basic functions. She also clarified that there is no specific treatment, nor a vaccine yet.
The dengue virus is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito of the genus Aedes, in particular Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus (tiger mosquito).
According to the Medical Services Director, "In Cyprus, we have both species of these mosquitoes, which is the intermediate host that infects humans, since, as she noted, "transmission is not directly from humans, but an intermediate host, which is the mosquito, has to intervene."
"We are concerned because people need to be protected from mosquito bites," she noted, adding that everyone should take measures in order to avoid having mosquitoes in their outside spaces.