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Tropical diseases on rise in Riviera

Cases of dengue fever and chikungunya up this summer - but tiger mosquito numbers are down, officials say

DOCTORS on the French Riviera have treated 17 people for mosquito-borne tropical diseases this year.

Nice Matin has reported that four people contracted dengue fever, 11 have chikungunya, and two suffer from both diseases.

Most were infected in the Caribbean and Brazil, authorities say, but the number of cases being treated on the Riviera - already two more than in the summer of 2013 - has caused concern, as the illnesses can be spread by the Asian tiger mosquito, which has been found in France since 2004.

Health authorities are working to stop the spread of the diseases among the victims’ family members and neighbours by using powerful insecticides, the paper reports.

Tiger mosquitoes are less numerous in the south of France this year, due to a combination of unfavourable weather conditions, public awareness and pest control efforts.

But health minister Marisol Touraine went to the Caribbean earlier this month to support efforts to contain a major epidemic of the chikungunya virus, which had led to 33 deaths and 1,000 people being hospitalised on the islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

At the time of her visit, RFI reported that 47 cases of chikungunya and 15 of dengue fever had been reported across France since May.

An estimated 400,000 people visit the French West Indies from mainland France during the summer holidays.

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