LONDON : Dengue will take off in Europe, US, Africa this decade.

DENGUE fever will become a major threat in the southern United States, southern Europe and new parts of Africa this decade, the WHO's chief scientist said, as warmer temperatures create the conditions for the mosquitoes carrying the infection to spread.

The illness has long been a scourge in much of Asia and Latin America, causing an estimated 20,000 deaths each year.

Rates of the disease have already risen eight-fold globally since 2000, driven largely by climate change as well as the increased movement of people and urbanisation.

Many cases go unrecorded, but in 2022 4.2 million cases were reported worldwide and public health officials have warned that near-record levels of transmission are expected this year.

Bangladesh is currently experiencing its worst-ever outbreak, with more than 1,000 deaths.

'' We need to talk much more proactively about dengue,'' Jeremy Farrar, an infectious diseases specialist who joined the World Health Organization in May this year, told Reuters.

'' We really need to prepare countries for how they will deal with the additional pressure that will come ............  in the future in many, many big cities.''

Farrar previously spent 18 years working in Vietnam on tropical diseases including dengue. He later headed up the Wellcome Trust global health charity and advised the UK government on its COVID-19  RESPONSE before joining the WHO in May this year.

Farrar said the infection is likely to ''take off'' and become endemic in parts of the United States,  Europe and Africa - all regions where there has already been some limited local transmissions - as global warming makes new areas hospitable to the mosquitoes that spread it.

That will put acute pressure on hospital systems in many countries, he warned.



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