4B people at risk of becoming infected with dengue virus: WHO

World
Sat, 23 Dec 2023 9:52 GMT
About 4 billion people are at risk of becoming infected with the dengue virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday.
4B people at risk of becoming infected with dengue virus: WHO

Over 5M cases and 5,000 related deaths reported in 2023, says UN health agency official.

About 4 billion people are at risk of becoming infected with the dengue virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday.

Diana Rojas Alvarez, the team lead on arboviruses - epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention department at the WHO’s emergencies program, told a UN briefing in Geneva that over 5 million cases and 5,000 deaths of dengue have been reported worldwide since the beginning of 2023.

Nearly 80% of the dengue cases – 4.1 million – have been reported in the Americas, followed by Southeast Asia and Western Pacific, Rojas said.

She emphasized that the distribution of mosquitoes has changed in recent years due to several factors, and in 2023, the El Nino phenomena and climate change have led to increased detection of dengue in previously dengue-free countries such as France, Italy and Spain.

"It is also concerning that dengue outbreaks are occurring in fragile and conflict-affected countries of the Eastern Mediterranean WHO region such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, and Yemen," she said, adding that these countries are facing simultaneously outbreaks of infectious diseases, mass population movements, poor water and sanitation infrastructure, and recurring natural disasters.

The same can be said for Africa, where dengue fever was found in local people and in people returning from more than 30 African countries, she added.

Dengue is "not endemic in Europe and the majority of these cases are usually travel-related," according to the UN health agency. However, the WHO European Region has also reported small, limited clusters of autochthonous dengue this year, Rojas said.

AA

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