Global warming puts half of world population at risk of dengue: WHO


In 2000, the world had about half a million cases and today in 2022 we recorded over 4.2 million, which really shows an eight-fold increase”: WHO

New Delhi: As the global warming caused the climate change, the health experts warned that about half of the world’s population is at risk of dengue, which will affect approximately 129 countries.

“We estimate that about 100 to 400 million cases are reported every year said Dr Raman Velayudhan, WHO’s Head of the Global Programme on control of Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Dengue, also called breakbone fever, is the most common viral infection that spreads from mosquitoes to people.

Dengue is spread by the Aedes species of mosquito. The disease is more common in tropical and subtropical climates. “This is basically an estimate and the American region alone has reported about 2.8 million cases and 101,280 deaths” he said.

Briefing journalists at the UN in Geneva, Mr. Dr Raman Velayudhan said, “In 2000, we had about half a million cases and today in 2022 we recorded over 4.2 million, which really shows an eight-fold increase.”

He said that the number could increase “as we get more and more accurate figures.”

According to the WHO expert, Asia represents around 70 per cent of the global disease burden and the future outlook is bleak.

In Europe, the Aedes mosquito is well established and dengue and chikungunya infections have been reported for more than a decade.

“European countries are also on alert because Europe had recorded an Aedes transmission of either dengue or chikungunya since 2010,” said Dr. Velayudhan.

“We have had more outbreaks since then and it is estimated that the mosquito is present in about 22 European countries” he added.

“Numerous factors in addition to climate change have driven the spread of dengue fever, such as the increased movement of people and goods, urbanization and pressure on water and sanitation” said WHO.

“The mosquito manages to survive even when there is water scarcity,” said the WHO expert. “So, both during a flood situation as well as a drought situation, dengue can increase. The virus and the vector multiply faster at a higher temperature. This is a well-known fact.”

Temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) “should kill the mosquito more than breeding it, but the mosquito is a very clever insect and it can breed in water storage containers where the temperature doesn’t rise that high.”

Dengue fever does not have a specific treatment and there is no direct drug intervention available. Usually, the disease is treated with medicines to treat fever and pain.

A dengue test takes two to three days before a reliable result is available.

“Several new tools are under development that provide greater hope for preventing and controlling dengue, such as better diagnostics. A few antivirals are undergoing clinical trials” said WHO.


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