GPs warned of mosquito-borne disease surge

GPs have been warned of a surge in mosquito-borne diseases after a 12-fold increase in cases of the chikungunya virus.

Mosquito-borne disease warning for GPs
Mosquito-borne disease warning for GPs

Cases of chikungunya, a mosquito-borne viral disease, have soared, according to data from Public Health England (PHE).

There were 295 cases in England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year, compared to 24 cases in 2013.

People visiting the Caribbean and South America have been urged to see their GP before travelling, or if they develop a fever, rash or joint pain within two weeks of returning.

GP advice

Dr George Kassianos, a member of the PHE advisory committee on malaria prevention in travellers from the UK, said that GPs should advise patients to protect themselves from mosquito bites by using insect repellent containing 50% DEET, as no preventative medicine is available.

‘The most important signs to watch for in returning travellers are fever, muscle and joint pains which can be severe, and a maculo-papular rash,’ he advised GPs.

‘In case of suspicion we can seek advice from our local microbiologist and/or PHE as the patient will need to have appropriate investigations for differential diagnosis too.’

Widespread disease

Researchers from PHE have also warned that rates of chikungunya, dengue fever and West Nile virus in the UK will ‘accelerate’ in the coming years due to climate change.

Disease-carrying mosquitoes could become widespread as the climate becomes warmer, the study in The Lancet Infectious Diseases found.

Professor Steve Leach from PHE said that there is a ‘need to assess future vector-borne disease risks and prepare contingencies for future outbreaks’.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Viewpoint: PCNs can be at the forefront of tackling health inequlities

Viewpoint: PCNs can be at the forefront of tackling health inequlities

Dr Mark Spencer explains how the COVID-19 pandemic helped his primary care network...

GPs expected to exceed 75% flu jab uptake as NHS England reveals campaign details

GPs expected to exceed 75% flu jab uptake as NHS England reveals campaign details

The government has said it expects practices to hit a minimum 75% uptake of flu vaccination...

Red flag symptoms: Heavy menstrual bleeding

Red flag symptoms: Heavy menstrual bleeding

Possible causes of heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) include uterine and ovarian...

Details on how practices can claim COVID-19 support funding announced

Details on how practices can claim COVID-19 support funding announced

NHS England has released details on how practices can claim back additional costs...

Most GPs say scrapping revalidation and CQC checks would not affect patient safety

Most GPs say scrapping revalidation and CQC checks would not affect patient safety

Around two thirds of GPs say scrapping revalidation and CQC inspections would make...

PCNs offered funding to accelerate recruitment of social prescribers

PCNs offered funding to accelerate recruitment of social prescribers

Primary care networks (PCNs) have been offered funding in a bid to accelerate the...