Friday, June 23, 2023

According to an EU body, climate change increases the danger of viral infections spread by mosquitoes


COPENHAGEN: Climate change is increasing the risk of mosquito-borne viral diseases like dengue and chikungunya in Europe, officials in the European Union warned on Thursday.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, the conditions are more favorable for invasive mosquito species like Aedes albopictus and Aedes aegypti because Europe is experiencing a warming trend, with heat waves and flooding becoming more frequent and severe, and summers becoming longer and warmer.

Aedes albopictus, a known vector of the chikungunya and dengue viruses, has been establishing itself further north and west in Europe, according to a report from the Stockholm-based agency. The other mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which is known to carry the dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, zika, and West Nile viruses, has been present in Cyprus since 2022 and has the potential to spread to other European nations.

The Aedes albopictus mosquito was introduced to eight European nations a decade ago, affecting 114 regions. According to the ECDC, the mosquito is present in 13 countries and 337 regions this year.

According to ECDC director Andrea Ammon, "if this continues, we can expect to see more cases and possibly deaths from diseases such as dengue, chikungunya, and West Nile fever." Enhancing surveillance, enforcing personal protective measures, and methods of controlling mosquito populations should be the primary focuses of the efforts.

Ammon stated in an online news conference that "now we have domestically acquired cases." In the past, the diseases were brought in from other countries.

The agency stated that eco-friendly larvicides, eliminating standing water where mosquitoes breed, and raising community awareness about mosquito control are methods for controlling populations.

According to the ECDC, people can use mosquito repellent, wear clothing that covers most of their body, sleep or rest in rooms with screens or air conditioning, and use mosquito bed nets to protect themselves.

It stated that spreading information about diseases that are spread by mosquitoes is crucial.

Dengue does not have a specific treatment. Although about 80% of infections are mild, serious ones can cause internal bleeding, damage to organs, and death.

The debilitating disease known as chikungunya fever, which is thought to affect tens of thousands of people, was first identified in Africa in 1953. Although it rarely results in death, it causes severe joint pain. There is no vaccine, and most people treat it with painkillers.

Ammon said 1,339 privately procured instances of West Nile contaminations, including 104 passings, were accounted for in Europe in 2022, the largest number since a pestilence in 2018.

Headaches, fever, muscle and joint pain, nausea, and fatigue are all possible symptoms of West Nile fever. West Nile fever patients typically recover on their own, despite the fact that symptoms can last for weeks or months.

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