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How the Paris Olympics could become axa0super-spreaderxa0event forxa0dengue

·2 mins

In September 2023, several people in Paris, France, contracted dengue fever. The outbreak was significant because it was the furthest north occurrence ever recorded, and none of the infected individuals had recently traveled. This highlights the local transmission of dengue in northern Europe. With the upcoming Olympics in 2024, which will attract millions of visitors to Paris, the French government is concerned about the risk of dengue. They are regularly monitoring hundreds of sites for the presence of dengue-carrying mosquitoes. The concept of super-spreaders, where a small fraction of the population is responsible for most cases, is not new. In a study conducted in Hunan Province, China, it was found that about 15% of people were responsible for 85% of COVID cases. Similarly, an analysis from Peru suggests that 8% of human-occupied spaces contribute to over half of dengue cases. The Tokyo Olympics faced concerns about viral epidemics, but no cases were reported. However, in the case of the Paris Olympics, there are several factors that could contribute to it becoming a super-spreader event, including the larger presence of dengue-carrying mosquitoes and the significant increase in dengue cases worldwide. The presence of visitors from more than 200 countries, many of which already have dengue cases, adds to the risk. The tiger mosquito, well-adapted to urban environments, is the primary carrier of dengue in Paris. Aedes mosquitoes can lay up to 200 eggs at a time, and a single bite from an infected mosquito has the potential to trigger an epidemic. Many dengue cases are asymptomatic, allowing infected individuals to unknowingly spread the virus. As a result, anyone present in Paris during the Olympics, whether as a resident, visitor, competitor, volunteer, or passerby, becomes part of an unintentional experiment in disease transmission.