WHO warns of surge in dengue, chikungunya cases

Baku, April 6, AZERTAC
The United Nations agency responsible for international public health says dengue and other diseases caused by mosquito-borne arboviruses are spreading faster and further as a result of climate change, according to Le Monde.
The World Health Organization warned on Wednesday, April 5, that dengue and other diseases caused by mosquito-borne arboviruses were spreading far faster and further as a result of climate change, warning global outbreaks could be looming. Experts with the WHO sounded the alarm over swelling numbers of cases of dengue and chikungunya and cautioned against new epidemics of zika that could also be expected in the coming months.
All three are caused by arboviruses carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitos, which have been spreading into new territory as the planet warms. "Climate change has played a key role in facilitating the spread of the vector mosquitoes," said Raman Velayudhan who coordinates WHO's dengue and arbovirus initiative. He and colleague Diana Rojas Alvarez, WHO's technical lead on chikungunya and zika, stressed the need for urgent action to rein in the spread of the mosquitos amid fears of larger outbreaks in new areas.
A full 129 countries are already at risk from dengue, including 100 countries where the disease is endemic. Case numbers have grown exponentially in recent years, jumping from around half a million in 2000 to some 5.2 million in 2019, the worst year on record, Velayudhan told journalists. Cases were not properly recorded during the Covid pandemic but he warned that numbers remained high.
Similarly, chikungunya, which to date has been reported in 115 countries since it was discovered in the 1950s, is experiencing a dramatic surge in the Americas. Around 135,000 cases have been reported there so far this year, compared to 50,000 cases reported during the first half of 2022. The two diseases often cause just mild symptoms like fever, body aches and a rash. But while most people who catch chikungunya experience symptoms for about a week, a full 40% will feel the effects for months and even years. "It can cause lifelong disability," Rojas Alvarez warned. With dengue, which comes in four closely related serotypes, people who are reinfected with another serotype often develop severe disease. This "can lead to organ failure and death," Velayudhan said, adding that "this is a big threat to the world because most of the countries now have all four serotypes in circulation."
He called for countries to boost mosquito control and "be on the alert" to detect when the diseases are spreading.

Healthcare 2023-04-06 18:24:00