Warnings of “life-threatening” diseases that may affect half of the world’s population by the end of the century Warnings of “life-threatening” diseases that may affect half of the world’s population by the end of the century

Warnings of “life-threatening” diseases that may affect half of the world’s population by the end of the century

Warnings of “life-threatening” diseases that may affect half of the world’s population by the end of the century

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

Scientists reported that the outbreak of the mosquito-borne disease, due to global warming, is expected to spread to parts of northern Europe and other regions of the world over the next few decades.

In Europe, mosquitoes carrying dengue fever have invaded 13 European countries since 2000, with the disease spreading locally in France, Italy and Spain in 2023.

Globally, the number of dengue cases reported to the World Health Organization has increased eight-fold in the past two decades, from 500,000 cases in 2000 to more than five million cases in 2019.

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

Rachel Lowe, a professor at the Catalan Institute for Advanced Research and Studies in Spain, explains: “Global warming caused by climate change means that disease vectors that carry and spread malaria and dengue could find a home in more areas, with spread occurring in areas where People are immunologically naïve (an immune system that has never been exposed to a specific antigen) and public health systems are unprepared.

“The stark reality is that longer hot seasons will expand the seasonal window for the spread of mosquito-borne diseases and encourage more frequent disease outbreaks that are difficult to manage,” she continued.

Scientists have indicated that if global warming can be limited to one degree Celsius, the number of people at risk of malaria and dengue fever could increase by an additional 2.4 billion people by 2100, compared to the period 1970-1999.

But they predict that if the current trajectory of carbon emissions and population growth continues, 4.7 billion people could be affected by dengue and malaria by the end of the century.

Professor Lowe said: “As climate change becomes more difficult to tackle, we can expect to see more cases and potentially deaths from diseases such as dengue and malaria across continental Europe. We must anticipate outbreaks and act to intervene early to prevent diseases from occurring in the first place.”

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

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

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