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Dangerous virus already in Europe. Climate crisis to blame

Dangerous virus already in Europe. Climate crisis to blame

Image source: Β© canva
Marta Grzeszczuk,
09.10.2023 11:30

Dengue is a dangerous tropical viral disease. The mosquitoes that spread it are now also infesting Europe.

Dengue is a viral disease spread by mosquitoes of the Aedes aegypti species. These tropical insects, due to a warming climate, have in recent years extended their range to southern Europe and the southern United States, including Florida, Hawaii, Texas and Arizona.

Most people infected with the virus do not have symptoms, which means that the number of cases is much higher than official numbers suggest. Dengue can also produce severe symptoms such as fever, muscle spasms and joint pain so painful that the disease is commonly referred to as "break-bone fever". It is fatal in less than 1% of cases.

There is no specific cure for dengue. Treatment consists of attempts to relieve fever and pain. Children, pregnant people and those infected for a second time are most at risk of developing a severe form of the illness.

WHO warns of the spread of dengue

Dengue is a scourge across much of Asia and Latin America, causing an estimated 20,000 deaths each year. The incidence of the disease has increased eight-fold worldwide since 2000, largely due to climate change, as well as increased population movement and urbanisation.

Dr Raman Velayudhan, head of the WHO Global Programme on Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases, sounded the alarm at a meeting with journalists in Geneva in July 2023: "The European countries are on alert because Europe had recorded an Aedes transmission of either dengue or chikungunya since 2010. We have had more outbreaks since then and it is estimated that the mosquito is present in about 22 European countries".

According to WHO expert the most important thing in preparing new regions of the world to deal with dengue is to ensure that public funds are spent in the right areas, a key one being preventing the further spread of Aedes mosquitoes.

Source: euronews.com, theconversation.com

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