Chikungunya outbreak confirmed in Italy

In Italy, 14 autochthonous cases of chikungunya have been confirmed , 6 in Rome and 8 in the coastal area of Anzio (Lazio region). Additional cases are being investigated. The date of onset of symptoms of the first case was on 5 August 2017. The dates of onset of the latest cases are between 25 August and 7 September 2017.

This is the second chikungunya outbreak in Italy. In 2007, 217 confirmed cases were reported in the Emilia Romagna region in the north-east of the country.

According to WHO, there is a risk for further transmission of chikungunya, due to the presence of the Aedes albopictus mosquito in the Mediterranean basin and its ability to sustain chikungunya outbreaks. The risk is also due to the affected area being highly populated, particularly in the summer months.

Public health measures have been put in place by the relevant authorities in Italy. These include vector control and communication to the public. Prevention and control relies heavily on reducing the number of natural and artificial water-filled containers, which support breeding of the mosquitoes.

WHO recommends that people within and travelling to this area of Italy take basic precautions such as wearing long sleeves and trousers and using repellents.