Dengue fever case reported in Arizona as climate change increases disease spread

Dengue fever case reported in Arizona as climate change increases disease spread

A close up of a mosquito. (Guillaume Souvant/AFP via Getty Images)

The The Maricopa County Public Health Department announced Monday that he had confirmed a human case of dengue fever that allegedly originated from an infected mosquito in Arizona.

“Routine mosquito monitoring conducted by the Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) detected dengue virus in a mosquito trap in a county neighborhood,” the health department said in a statement. Press.

The mosquito-borne disease infects 400 million people every year and kills up to 40,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionbut most of the cases reported in the lower 48 states, the CDC says on its website, have been “in travelers infected elsewhere.”

Maricopa County officials, which includes Phoenix and its densely populated environs, are sending teams to area neighborhoods to offer free testing for the disease and information on how to prevent mosquito bites and breeding.

As global temperatures have continued to rise over the past century due to climate change, dengue fever has spread dramatically. A study published this year in the journal Frontiers in Public Health found that, thanks to climate change, the disease “will affect 60% of the world’s population by 2080”.

“Currently, dengue fever is taking its toll and climate change is one of the main reasons contributing to the intensification of dengue transmission,” the study said. “The most important climatic factors linked to dengue transmission are temperature, precipitation and relative humidity.”

Currently, the approximately 100 million people who become ill with dengue each year can experience symptoms ranging from flu-like to severe bleeding, organ failure and death. The World Health Organization notes that the rapid increase in the number of dengue fever cases is a recent phenomenon.

“The number of dengue cases reported to WHO has increased more than 8-fold over the past two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to over 2.4 million in 2010 and 5.2 million in 2019. Deaths reported between 2000 and 2015 increased from 960 to 4032, mainly affecting the younger age group,” WHO indicates on its website, adding: “Before 1970, only 9 countries had experienced severe dengue epidemics. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries in the WHO regions of Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific.

An article published in 2020 by researchers from Taiwan and pointed out by the National Institutes of Health links rising temperatures to the sharp increase in the number of dengue fever cases worldwide.

“Climate change is considered to be one of the main factors increasing the intensity of dengue transmission,” the document states.

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