Dengue fever, a viral infection spread by mosquitoes, is common in Asia and parts of Latin America. However, a recent outbreak of localized dengue fever occurred in France.
Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, joint pain, nausea, and a red rash. However, in some cases, it can lead to more serious illness and even death.
Every year, France reports a large number of imported dengue cases who traveled to countries where dengue is endemic and brought back dengue. For tiger mosquitoes (Aedes albopictus) biting an infected person can transmit the infection to someone who has not traveled to a country at risk. However, it is not contagious among people.
Since the first localized transmission of dengue fever in France in 2010, approximately 12 cases have been reported annually. However, since July 2022, there have been nearly 40 community-acquired dengue cases. French health officials have also warned of more cases to come.
One of the challenges in controlling the spread of dengue is that the mosquitoes that spread dengue are active day and night. On the other hand, because malaria-spreading mosquitoes are primarily active at night, mosquito nets are an effective way to reduce the risk of contracting malaria in countries where malaria is endemic. However, this control measure is not very effective against dengue fever.
Mosquitoes carry many infectious diseases, including malaria, West Nile virus, yellow fever, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Zika and chikungunya. These diseases are prevalent in areas where mosquitoes can live. Habitat is often tropical regions of sub-Saharan Africa, South America, or Asia. It is transmitted through mosquito bites, not from person to person.
Climate change has had, and will continue to have, significant impacts on human and animal populations worldwide. Modeling predicts that changes in temperature and rainfall across Africa could promote new habitats for mosquito breeding, leading to, for example, up to a 25% increase in yellow fever mortality by 2050. I’m here. As a result, environmental risks led to his strategy to eliminate the 2026 WHO global yellow fever epidemic. By 2030, the population at risk of malaria in Africa will increase by more than 80 million, largely as a result of climate change.
Mosquitoes cannot fly very far and can fly from a few meters to tens of kilometers. Imported cases of malaria and dengue fever, already common among returning travelers, do not usually pose a local threat to the rest of the population. is spreading.
In fact, there have been more than 570 West Nile virus cases recorded in Europe this year. Most of these are recorded in Veneto, northern Italy.
The lowlands of Veneto seem to have emerged as an ideal habitat for wolves. Culex pipiens A mosquito capable of transmitting West Nile virus as a host.
Globalization and climate change are spurring the re-emergence of old diseases in new places. And public health officials are taking these threats seriously. The UK Health Security Agency has a national contingency plan against invasive mosquitoes.
As part of fieldwork activities, entomologists visit sites such as the wetlands of the Thames estuary in Kent. There they catch mosquitoes and ticks and bring them back to the lab for testing. This approach can help identify whether local insect populations are hiding something new, such as malaria or dengue, before infections start to spread.
The long-term future of the UK and the rest of Europe is likely to require more widespread use of public health control measures such as mosquito nets and bug sprays. Vaccine development may also be important as a preventive measure.
Yellow fever is already vaccine-preventable, and there is now a licensed vaccine against malaria in use in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Dengue vaccine candidates are emerging, one of which is licensed in the United States. However, it is only recommended for use by people who have already had dengue fever. This limits wide deployment.
Huge numbers of people are already at risk from mosquito-borne diseases, and global inequalities mean poorer countries are most vulnerable to climate change. The world needs to take seriously the threat of emerging diseases such as Zika and neglected diseases such as dengue and onchocerciasis. The population at risk is likely to grow over the next few years and decades.