By Robert Preidt, Health Day reporter
THURSDAY, July 8, 2021 (HealthDay News) – Climate change could put billions more people at risk for deadly mosquito-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, researchers said. They see the danger zone spreading to the United States, Europe and Asia.
If temperatures rise by about 3.7 degrees Celsius by 2100 from pre-industrial levels, an additional 4.7 billion people worldwide could be at risk of contracting the disease compared to the 1970s to 1999, according to a new modeling study.
That means 8.4 billion people globally could be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by the turn of the century, especially those living in plains and urban areas, according to the findings. The results appear in The Lancet’s planetary health newspaper.
The study predicts a northward shift of the malaria epidemic belt in North America, central and northern Europe, and northern Asia, and a northward shift of the dengue epidemic belt in central and northern Europe and northern Europe. northern United States.
Malaria and dengue are the most important global health threats transmitted by mosquitoes. They are found in more areas, emerging in previously untouched places and reemerging in places where they had subsided for decades, European researchers said.
Malaria is moving to higher altitudes and urbanization is associated with an increasing risk of dengue.
“Our results show why we need to act to reduce emissions in order to limit climate change,” said study co-author Felipe Colón-González, assistant professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
“This work strongly suggests that reducing greenhouse gas emissions could prevent millions of people from contracting malaria and dengue fever. The results show that low-emission scenarios dramatically reduce the duration of transmission, as well as the number of people at risk, ”Colón-González said in a school press release. “Measures to limit increases in global temperature to well below 2 ° C must continue. “
He added that policymakers and public health officials should prepare for all scenarios, including those where emissions remain at high levels.
“This is especially important in areas that are currently disease free and where health systems are unlikely to be prepared for major epidemics,” Colón-González said.
Increased surveillance in potentially sensitive areas will be important, especially in places with no previous experience of dengue or malaria, said Rachel Lowe, study co-author, associate professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. .
SOURCE: London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, press release, July 7, 2021
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