Travellers to an exotic island in the Indian Ocean have been issued with warnings against a rare tropical disease.
Seventy seven people have already died in Mauritius from the rare chikungunya virus which is carried by mosquitoes.
Mauritius, an island paradise particularly popular with honeymooning couple has about 700,000 visitors annually, generating more than £400 million.
Following the outbreak the number of French tourists who normally account for about a quarter of the total, plummeted.
Chikungunya is a African word meaning the illness of the bended walker and most of the deaths have occurred in elderly people.
Symptoms usually appear between four and seven days after the infecting bite and the virus causes fever, joint and muscle pain, headache and a rash.
Although it is not usually life threatening, 12 per cent of people who contract the disease are left with chronic joint pain which can last for three years and the disease is notable for its persistent nature.
In the first three months of this year 77 death certificates were issued in the Indian Ocean islands stating chikungunya virus as cause of death, although officials say the number of cases appears to be decreasing.
Researchers from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland, who conducted a study into the virus, have advised people travelling to the islands to take preventative measures against mosquito bites and also suggest that vulnerable groups such as pregnant women, people over 70 and young children should avoid the area at present.
Doctors Patrick Bodenmann and Blaise Genton, from the University of Lausanne say that people need to be aware of the "magnitude of the risk" and take measures to protect themselves.
Dr. Devendra Mourya of the National Institute of Virology says the current outbreak seems to be more severe than previous outbreaks, because so many patients have developed complications and deaths have also been reported.
The large population is at risk of the illness, especially travellers from regions where the disease is not prevalent.