UK tourists warned of 'painful' fever at holiday hotspot as Foreign Office issues warning

A popular location for UK tourists has been the subject of a health warning with a potentially deadly fever on the rise. The Foreign Office has issued an urgent warning after tourists returning from a popular UK holiday hotspot were diagnosed with a disease dating back to the 17th century.

According to the Foreign Office-backed travel health website, three cases of dengue fever have been confirmed in Italy since June 10 - all from people who'd been in Sharm El-Sheikh in May 2024. Holidaymakers heading to Egypt are being warned about the symptoms and advised to take preventative measures to avoid infection.

Dengue fever is a potentially deadly infection spread by mosquitoes. It was historically known as 'bone break fever' due to the severe muscle and joint pain it causes.

Read more: 'I'm in £20k credit card debt and I am not ashamed'

In addition to Sharm El-Sheikh, a similar outbreak has affected French tourists, many of whom had returned from Guadeloupe or Martinique, territories with historical colonial ties to France.

France has reported an additional 600 cases of dengue fever since last month, prompting health experts to issue warnings about the tropical disease.

Symptoms typically appear four to 10 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, making early detection crucial.

Dengue fever doesn't always present symptoms immediately, and when it does, they can be flu-like, the NHS warns. In a minority of cases, after initial symptoms fade, severe dengue can develop within days, with critical signs emerging within 24 to 48 hours.

The relentless march of climate change is fuelling the spread of diseases such as dengue and cholera, pushing them into previously unaffected regions.

In Argentina, the number of dengue cases has skyrocketed from 3,220 in 2019 to a staggering 488,035 in the current year.

As mosquitoes extend their territory northwards, southern Europe is grappling with an uptick in dengue cases. Italy, which reported its first case of local transmission in 2020, has seen numbers swell to 67 by 2023.

France has also witnessed a significant jump in cases, from just 9 in 2019 to 65 in 2023, marking a more than sevenfold increase.

Speaking to Wales Online, Airfinity's Biorisk analyst Kristan Piroeva said: "Cases of dengue, which most people think of as a tropical disease, are growing in non-endemic countries."

Piroeva added: "As temperatures continue to rise, we could see the disease becoming endemic in southern Europe. Airfinity's global overview of dengue incidence shows nearly half the world's population may now be at risk of dengue infection."

"An increase in surveillance and testing for disease also plays a significant role in today's analysis. By enhancing our monitoring capabilities, we can better track the spread of these diseases and implement timely interventions to mitigate their impact."

More than half of the world's population could be at risk of catching diseases transmitted by mosquitoes such as malaria and dengue by the end of the century, scientists have warned.

The number of malaria cases imported into UK has surged past 2,000: The high figure, not seen in over two decades, comes from data provided by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). In 2023, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland recorded 2,004 confirmed malaria cases, a rise from 1,369 in 2022.

The UKHSA suggests this upturn is tied to the resurgence of malaria in numerous countries and an uptick in international travel due to easing pandemic restrictions. Meanwhile, dengue fever globally - supported by figures from the World Health Organization - spiked eight-fold in just 20 years, translating to roughly 500,000 cases in 2000 to over five million in 2019.