Dengue, from fever to eye pain: how the virus manifests itself

Faccini (Ats Milan): “At least half of the patients had erythema”

Dengue cases in Italy continue to increase also thanks to an unusually warm start to autumn which made life easier for the virus transmitted by mosquitoes. But how do we understand that we have Dengue? How does the virus manifest itself and what are the symptoms? Marino Faccini, director of the Department of Hygiene and health prevention of the ATS Milan Metropolitan City, explained this to Adnkronos Salute from his observatory in the Lodi area where an outbreak of native cases, i.e. from viruses transmitted locally by infected mosquitoes, was intercepted in August.


“We had fever in all cases, quite severe headache and muscle-joint pain in almost all cases – Faccini summarizes -. What distinguishes this infection a little from the flu is that half of the people who were infected had a skin rash, that is, a erythemaand also the pain behind the eyes (retrobulbar pain) which is a fairly typical symptom, although it should be noted that it is not always present.”

“The test was administered to the patients”, identified largely by the symptoms they showed, “because in a situation of this type, if a person goes to the emergency room saying they have a fever and some symptoms that correspond to a suspected infection, they are samples taken and tested for Dengue. The same goes for West Nile”, clarifies Faccini. Given the symptoms described, and the absence of other causes (such as pneumonia or other) to which they can be traced back, we proceed with further investigation “since it is a period in which these viruses circulate”. And considering that the indigenous cases were different and were recorded in several areas of Italy from the North to the Center.

“We have a tropical infection in our house”

“Four different episodes of indigenous transmission, one in the Lodi area, two in the province of Rome and one in Latina for a total of 58 confirmed cases “are an important signal”, observes Faccini, to reflect on aspects such as the globalization of diseases, ” climate change”. For the cases of Dengue we have had, “there is no need to be alarmed, but we must be aware that we have a tropical infection in our home”, continues the expert. In Lombardy the Lodi outbreak “was the first episode of autochthonous transmission, even quite large”, in total around thirty cases, “and it is an experience that we must take advantage of for next year, in order to be more aware of the risk and try to intervene even more incisively.”