(CTN News) – The global incidence of dengue fever has increased significantly over the past few decades, according to the United Nations health agency.
This rise can be attributed, in part, to climate change and the proliferation of mosquitoes that carry the virus, particularly in the Americas. The World Health Organization reported a staggering 5.2 million cases in 2019, a tenfold increase from the 500,000 cases reported in 2000.
These figures likely underestimate the true extent of the disease’s impact. In January,
WHO issued a warning about the pandemic potential of dengue,
Which is the fastest-spreading mosquito-borne illness worldwide. While there are vaccines and genetically modified mosquitoes containing the Wolbachia bacteria that can help combat, there are currently no specific treatments for those already infected.
This year alone, over 5 million cases and 5,000 deaths related to dengue have been reported. The changing distribution patterns of dengue-carrying mosquitoes, coupled with the effects of climate change such as increased rainfall, humidity, and heat, have contributed to this surge in cases.
Additionally, weak healthcare systems and inadequate surveillance have also played a role in the spread of the disease.
According to the WHO, most cases of dengue are either asymptomatic or mild, but severe complications can occur. Warning signs include abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, and liver enlargement.
Dengue has not yet established itself in Europe, but there have been locally transmitted cases in southern Europe since 2010.
In 2023, record numbers of cases have been reported in the Americas, the Caribbean, and Bangladesh.
Peru, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay have recorded the highest number of cases globally, resulting in Peru’s declaration of a state of emergency in specific regions.
There are two licensed vaccines for dengue, but one should only be given to those who have previously been infected. It may pose a risk of more severe disease in those who have not.