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France has registered a record number of imported cases of dengue, just three months before the start of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, health authorities said on Tuesday.

There have been 1,700 cases across the country since the turn of the year, and it is proving a cause for concern ahead of the spectacle that is just around the corner. The Director General of Health, Gregory Emery, was quick to issue the stark warning at a press conference. 

He said: "Since January 1, 2024, 1,679 cases of dengue have been imported into metropolitan France, against 131 during the same period in 2023." These cases correspond to people who travelled to regions of the world, such as the French Antilles, where the virus is transmitted by mosquitoes of the Aedes albopictus species.

"It is a reflection of what is happening in the Antilles and, more broadly, in Latin America and the Caribbean, where dengue has been circulating since the beginning of the year at unprecedented levels," said the head of Sante Publique France, Caroline Semaille. 

Even before the Olympic Games, France broke the record for imported dengue cases in the metropolitan area (2,019) at the mercy of a greater influx of people in the capital.

Paris goers have been warned over the record number of soaring cases surrounding Dengue fever caused by mosquitoes. GETTY IMAGES
Paris goers have been warned over the record number of soaring cases surrounding Dengue fever caused by mosquitoes. GETTY IMAGES

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the majority of these cases originate from Guadeloupe and Martinique, where an ongoing "epidemic" is observed. Additionally, French Guiana has reported 7,000 confirmed dengue cases since the start of 2024.

Health authorities have called on people to "remain vigilant and adopt good gestures to limit the proliferation of the tiger mosquito", such as, for example, eliminating stagnant water and avoiding being bitten. With 3.5 million cases so far this year, Latin America and the Caribbean will probably experience their "worst dengue season", caused by climate change, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) warned at the end of March.

Experts blame climate change for the mosquitoes' ability to adapt easily to colder climates, and authorities recently declared Normandy in the northwest, the last remaining mosquito-free region in France, as infested as the rest of the country.

Dengue, also known as break-bone fever, is a viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people. It is more common in tropical and subtropical climates. Most people who get dengue will not have symptoms. However, for those who do, the most common symptoms are high fever, headache, body aches, nausea, and rash.