Dengue fever risk in Europe if climate change worsens
Published 02/09/2014 | 02:30
The tropical virus dengue fever could make headway in European holiday destinations if climate change continues along predicted lines.
The incidence of the potentially fatal virus could increase five-fold by the end of the century as average temperatures and humidity levels increase, a new study has claimed.
The University of East Anglia study used current data from Mexico, where dengue fever is present, to model the likelihood of the disease spreading in Europe. They found that coastal regions around the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, the Po Valley and north-east Italy were most at risk.
Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes and symptoms include fever, headache and muscle and bone pain.
The disease infects 50 million people worldwide annually and causes approximately 12,000 deaths, mostly in south-east Asia and the western Pacific.
Using the Mexican data and factoring in regional factors, the University of East Anglia researchers were able to make projections about potential dengue fever cases in the 27 EU member states over four time periods.
These were: baseline conditions (covering years 1961-1990), short-term (2011-2040), medium-term (2041-2070) and long-term (2071-2100).
The incidence rate is predicted to go from two per 100,000 inhabitants to ten per 100,000 by 2100.
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