A tropical virus that has caused severe illness and widespread panic on the islands of the Indian Ocean has become established in Europe for the first time.
The Ministry of Health in Italy has confirmed a* outbreak of Chikungunya virus near Ravenna in the region of Emilia Romagna, 200 miles north of Rome. A total of 151 cases were reported in two villages near the town of Cervia between 4 July and 3 September. Eleven patients were taken to hospital; one died.
It is the first time indigenous transmission of the virus has been detected in Europe and raises the threat that it could spread to other countries, including the UK. The virus is transmitted by the Aedes albopictus mosquito which is common in southern Europe and has been found as far north as Belgium.
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