tiger mosquito

BBC NEWS – Mosquito-borne disease risk looms for UK – study

Parts of the UK could become home to mosquitoes capable of spreading dengue fever, chikungunya and zika virus by the 2040s and 2050s, health officials warn.

The UK Health Security Agency’s report is based on a worst-case scenario, which would see high emissions and temperatures rising by 4C by 2100.

It says other effects include a rise in heat-related deaths and flooding.

But many potential problems are still avoidable with swift action, it says.

Steep cuts to greenhouse gas emissions could avert some of the worst consequences, it adds.

The report, involving 90 experts, pulls together the “substantial and growing” evidence of the current effects of climate change on our health.

It also makes projections based on what it says is a “plausible worst-case scenario” that could happen if international commitments to tackle climate change are not properly kept.

Current United Nations Environment Programme estimates suggest the world is on track for about a 2.7C warming by 2100, based on current pledges, although the exact numbers are uncertain.

Prof Nigel Arnell, professor of climate change at the University of Reading, says: “Whilst we clearly hope temperatures won’t get that far, it is prudent to prepare for the worst case when planning health resources, if the consequences of us underestimating the risk are so significant.”

One major health concern is the UK becoming more suitable for invasive species such as the Asian tiger mosquito, also known as Aedes albopictus.

While the mosquito only carries harmful viruses after biting infected people, London could see regular cases of dengue fever by 2060, the report says.

The virus is most commonly seen in tropical regions and can make people seriously ill

England would be the first country in the UK to be affected, with Wales, Northern Ireland and parts of the Scottish Lowlands also becoming suitable habitats later in the century.

The mosquitoes have already been responsible for cases of dengue in France and chikungunya virus in Italy in recent years. 

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) already has a surveillance system in placeto rapidly spot invasive mosquitoes, including a network of traps placed at UK borders that detect mosquito eggs. 

This would need to be expanded in the worst-case scenario, says Dr Jolyon Medlock, from the UKHSA.

If the insects go on to establish a home in the UK, people would also need to consider how to store water safely, as it is a common breeding ground for mosquitoes.

This would mean making sure buckets are not collecting stagnant water in gardens, paddling pools being covered and any potential rain-collecting vessels being upturned, he added.

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Dengue in The Caribbean 2023

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reports continuing widespread transmission of dengue fever in countries in the Americas and the Caribbean.

The following countries have reported cases from 1 January 2023 to 21 August 2023:

Antigua and Barbuda: 28 cases

Argentina: 121 424 cases (65 deaths)

Aruba: 9 cases

Bahamas: 2 cases

Barbados: 274 cases

Belize: 4 450 cases

Bolivia: 137 110 cases (79 deaths)

Brazil: 2 569 746 cases (912 deaths)

Colombia: 67 944 cases (44 deaths)

Costa Rica: 4 480 cases

Dominican Republic: 3 667 cases (4 deaths)

Ecuador: 5 372 cases (5 deaths)

El Salvador: 3 748 cases

Grenada: 543 cases (1 death)

Guadeloupe: 2 236 cases

Guatemala: 10 914 cases (21 deaths)

Guyana: 92 cases

Honduras: 8 607 (4 deaths)

Jamaica : 151 cases

Martinique: 2 599 cases

Mexico: 61 845 cases (13 deaths)

Montserrat: 2 cases

Nicaragua: 75 122 cases (1 death)

Panama : 5 506 cases (1 death)

Paraguay: 7 383 cases (10 deaths)

Peru: 235 014 cases (399 deaths)

Puerto Rico: 472 cases

Saint Barthelemy: 64 cases

Saint Kitts and Nevis: 1 case

Saint Lucia: 14 cases

Saint Martin: 77 cases

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: 14 cases

Suriname: 76 cases

Trinidad and Tobago: 34 cases

United States of America1 case in Texas reported by 16 August 2023. 15 cases in Florida by 19 August 2023.

Uruguay: 35 cases

Venezuela: 4 809 cases (8 deaths)

Virgin Islands (UK): 4 cases

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Mosquitoes are moving North in Europe

Over the past four decades, Europe has seen the spread of invasive mosquito species such as Aedes albopictus. Originating in the tropical forests of southeast Asia, this insect has spread globally, transported in cargo ships and even in private cars. It was first seen in Albania in 1979, then in Italy in 1990. By 2013, it was established in 8 European Economic Area countries, according to data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), and by 2023 this had increased to 13.

Visit dengueacademy.com and learn more about dengue (for an international audience of healthcare professionals outside of the US and UK)

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Thailand reports an increase in many infectious diseases in 2023

2023 saw an increase in most infectious diseases—arbovirus diseases, parasitic, sexually transmitted and vaccine preventable– in Thailand, according to data from the country’s Bureau of Epidemiology (BOE).

I’ll describe a little about the lesser known diseases/infections.

Dengue, chikungunya and Zika increases

In 2023, Thailand reported increases in dengue fever. 153,734 total cases were reported this year, a 231 percent increase compared to the 46,679 cases reported in 2022.

Deaths were also up from 32 last year to 168 in 2023.

Thailand saw a 290 percent increase in Zika virus infections in 2023—from 190 last year to 742 in 2023.

While not nearly as dramatic as dengue fever or Zika virus, Thailand also reported a slight increase in chikungunya cases—1371 in 2023 compared to 1311 in 2022.

Dengue

Millions infected with dengue this year in new record as hotter temperatures cause virus to flare

 Dengue is sweeping across the Western Hemisphere in numbers not seen since record-keeping began more than four decades ago, with experts warning that rising temperatures and rapid urbanization are accelerating the pace of infections.

A record more than 4 million cases have been reported throughout the Americas and Caribbean so far this year, surpassing a previous record set in 2019, with officials from the Bahamas to Brazil warning of crowded clinics and new infections daily. More than 2,000 deaths in that region also have been reported. 

“This year is the year we’ve been seeing the most dengue in recorded history,” said Thais dos Santos, adviser on surveillance and control of arboviral diseases with the Pan American Health Organization, the regional office of the World Health Organization in the Americas. She noted that record keeping began in 1980. “Vector borne diseases, especially these diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes … provide us a really good sentinel of what is happening with climate change.”