Global Warming and Dengue

Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, most common in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. Cases of dengue outbreak have been reported in over 100 countries around the world. An estimated 100 million people have contracted the infection so far, of which 22,000 people succumbed to severe dengue fever. Nearly 40% of the world’s population resides in areas that are highly prone to dengue.

The disease spreads through the bite of female Aedes aegypti mosquito species that are infected with one of the four dengue viruses. Dengue causes severe flu-like ailments and potentially fatal complications, like dengue haemorrhagic fever. Dengue fever virus follows a pattern where the mosquito acts as a transmitter of the virus and humans as the prime victim and source of infection.

Signs of Dengue Fever

Signs and symptoms of dengue 1 are typically observed 4-7 days after the onset of the infection. In most cases, these symptoms are mild. Due to this, many times, they are mistaken for signs of flu and other infections. The symptoms, however, last for nearly 10 days. The following symptoms could tell if you have contracted dengue virus –

  • Sudden fever, where temperature rises up to 106 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Swelling of the lymph glands
  • Excessive headache
  • Rashes on the skin
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Mild to severe vomiting/nausea
  • Mild bleeding from the gums and nose
  • Mild bruising on the skin
  • Febrile convulsions

A blood test can confirm whether the above signs suggest dengue. Once the disease is diagnosed, you will need to undergo proper treatment for the same. Your doctor will accordingly prescribe medications for dengue.

The connection between Global Warming and Dengue

Global warming has been a cause of concern for scientists and environmentalists all over the world, over the last decade. The phenomenon of Global warming is projected to have adverse effects on the earth and humankind. Recently, scientists have claimed that a rise in temperature due to global warming may have a link with the increasing incidence of dengue outbreaks 2.

According to a study that examines the change in temperature across the globe on a monthly basis, by the end of the century, as many as billions of people could be exposed to mosquito-borne dengue because of global warming.

As per the reports of the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are among the deadliest insects in the world, carrying diseases that can cause millions to die in a year. Climate change is the biggest threat to global health security and mosquitoes are only a part of the challenge. However, the situation is worse in regions with even the slightest of risks of having a climate suited for mosquitoes since the viruses they carry are noted for outbreaks when they show up at the right place under the right conditions.

The change in climate will have a very big effect on the global distribution and burden of infectious diseases. The range of diseases caused by mosquito bites could dramatically expand in response to that. Aedes aegypti species of mosquitoes are restricted to warm, urban environments – places that are becoming commonplace with the rise in urbanization and global warming.

Depending on whatever little information is available on mosquito movement from one region to another, 50 years is a considerably long period and one can expect a significant spread of dengue virus through mosquitoes thriving in urban environments.

Although there is not much you can do about global warming, you can take the necessary steps and precautions to keep away from the malicious dengue virus. Eating healthy and keeping your surroundings clean can help prevent the onset of this infection.

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