Warning of ‘life-threatening’ disease that could affect half of the world’s population by the end of this century

More than half of the world’s population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever by the end of this century, scientists have warned.

Scientists have reported that mosquito-borne disease outbreaks are expected to spread to parts of Northern Europe and other parts of the world in the coming decades due to global warming.

In Europe, dengue-carrying mosquitoes have invaded 13 European countries since 2000, with local outbreaks occurring in France, Italy, and Spain in 2023.

Globally, the number of dengue fever cases reported to the World Health Organization has increased eightfold over the past two decades, from 500,000 in 2000 to more than 5 million in 2019.

Until recently, dengue fever was mainly confined to tropical and subtropical regions, scientists said, because freezing temperatures kill mosquito larvae and eggs.

Professor Rachel Lowe of the Institute of Advanced Study of Catalonia in Spain explains: “Global warming caused by climate change means that disease vectors that transmit and spread malaria and dengue fever may settle in more areas, increasing the number of areas where epidemics can occur. People are immunologically naïve (an immune system that has never been exposed to a particular antigen) and public health systems are not ready for it.

“The hard reality is that longer hot seasons will widen the seasonal window for mosquito-borne diseases and increase the frequency of diseases that are difficult to control,” she continued.

Scientists say that if global warming can be limited to 1 degree Celsius, an additional 2.4 billion people will be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by 2100 compared to 1970-1999. It is pointed out that there is a possibility that

However, they predict that if current trends in carbon emissions and population growth continue, 4.7 billion people could be affected by dengue and malaria by the end of this century.

Professor Lowe said: “As climate change becomes increasingly difficult to tackle, we expect the number of infections and potential deaths from diseases such as dengue and malaria to rise across the continent. must anticipate outbreaks and take early intervention actions to prevent disease outbreaks.”

Scientists are now developing ways to use disease surveillance and climate change data to predict when and where outbreaks will occur.

The results of this study were presented at the ESCMID World Congress in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

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