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WHO Warns Of Dengue Risk As Global Warming Pushes Cases Near Historic Highs

WHO says reported cases of the disease, which causes fever and muscle pain, represent just a fraction of the total number of global infections since most cases are asymptomatic. It is fatal in less than 1 per cent of people

WHO Warns Of Dengue Risk As Global Warming Pushes Cases Near Historic Highs
A warmer climate is thought to help the mosquitoes multiply faster and enable the virus to multiply within their bodies

Geneva: The World Health Organization warned on Friday (July 21), that cases of dengue fever could reach close to record highs this year, partly due to global warming benefiting mosquitoes that spread it. Dengue rates are rising globally, with reported cases since 2000 up eight-fold to 4.2 million in 2022, WHO said.

The disease was found in Sudan’s capital Khartoum for the first time on record, according to a health ministry report in March, while Europe has reported a surge in cases and Peru declared a state of emergency in most regions.

In Januray, WHO warned that dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat”.

Also Read: ICMR Working With Global Institutions To Explore Vaccine Candidates Against ‘WHO Blueprint Priority Pathogens’: Government

About half of the world’s population is now at risk, Dr. Raman Velayudhan, a specialist at the WHO’s control of neglected tropical diseases department, told journalists in Geneva on Friday.

Reported cases to WHO hit an all-time high in 2019 with 5.2 million cases in 129 countries, said Velayudhan via a video link. This year the world is on track for “4 million plus” cases, depending mostly on the Asian monsoon season.

Already, close to 3 million cases have been reported in the Americas, he said, adding there was concern about the southern spread to Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru.

Argentina, which has faced one of its worst outbreaks of dengue in recent years, is sterilizing mosquitoes using radiation that alters their DNA before releasing them into the wild.

The American region certainly shows it is bad and we hope the Asian region may be able to control it, Velayudhan said.

Also Read: Childhood Vaccination Rates Begin To Recover Post-Pandemic: United Nations

WHO says reported cases of the disease, which causes fever and muscle pain, represent just a fraction of the total number of global infections since most cases are asymptomatic. It is fatal in less than 1 per cent of people.

A warmer climate is thought to help the mosquitoes multiply faster and enable the virus to multiply within their bodies. Velayudhan cited the increased movement of goods and people and urbanisation and associated problems with sanitation as other factors behind the increase.

Asked how the heatwave affecting the northern hemisphere would affect the spread of the disease, he said it was too soon to tell.

Temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit) “should kill the mosquito more than breeding it, but the mosquito is a very clever insect and it can breed in water storage containers where the temperature doesn’t rise that high.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – theLGBTQ population,indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the currentCOVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water,SanitationandHygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fightmalnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health,adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues likeair pollution,waste management,plastic ban,manual scavengingand sanitation workers andmenstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India wheretoiletsare used andopen defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched byPrime Minister Narendra Modiin 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

 

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