The first ever maps of dengue vulnerability have recently revealed that large parts of South America, Central and Western Africa and Europe are facing a risk of having deadly outbreaks of dengue, possibly due to climate change and urbanization.
Dengue fever, which is transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes is known to cause severe pain according to the research by the United Nations University, which is also pinpointing towards certain vulnerable areas which could be used as a tool to prevent future outbreaks of the viral disease.
“Changes to climate could result in increased exposure and pose a serious threat to areas that do not currently experience endemic dengue,” the report said.
The planet is generally getting warmer, and as that happens, dengue could possibly spread to many parts of Europe and even the mountainous regions of South America, which are usually too cold to allow mosquitoes to breed.
What’s more, it is also predicted that dengue may spread to some areas in West and Central Africa due to poor sanitation and drinking water facilities and also due to insufficient healthcare coverage.
The new maps put forward by this new report have illustrated the contraction and expansion of dengue throughout the year, and have also pointed out to hotspots- areas where the virus could be a major disaster, which could be of great help for the countries to cope up better with the situation.
“We’ve seen from Ebola that in this global world that we’re living in that infectious diseases can travel around,” Corinne Schuster-Wallace, senior researcher at the UN University, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation in a phone interview from Canada.
“The conditions for these diseases are dynamic over time and given that we’re changing our social and environmental dynamics, the global distribution of these infectious diseases like dengue is going to change.”
While the map does not predict outbreaks as such, it is certain that if the mosquitoes did arrive in these vulnerable areas, dengue would soon become endemic there.
Considering there is no vaccine for the disease and that it claims the lives of around 20,000 people every year and infects around 1000 million, this report could be of a huge source of relief for the nations who are at risk.
Some experts further assume that the original number of people being impacted by dengue could be three times this number suggested by the WHO, which is even more scary.
Fumigation of the sites where these mosquitoes who cause the disease breed is the only approach available to tackle the disease.