Why Dengue is Getting Worse: 9 Reasons and the Impact of Global Warming
Cases of diseases carried by mosquitoes are increasing worldwide. Dengue and chikungunya cases are expected to rise even in Europe due to changes in the climate, according to officials from the European Union.
In Delhi and other parts of the country, dengue cases have reached the highest level in five years, and there are stronger forms of the virus causing more problems for people. Experts think that floods and water buildup might also be making the situation worse. (Dengue surge: Recognizing signs of different dengue strains, from mild to severe)
New research from the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, published in The Federation of American Societies of Experimental Biology, has discovered that when the dengue virus is exposed to higher temperatures, it becomes more serious in animal models. This is because the virus multiplies faster when it’s warmer, which means it can spread to humans more quickly. The researchers also noticed that global warming might be changing how the disease works. While dengue usually isn’t too bad for most people, it can be deadly for others.
Dr. Vinay Bhat, a Consultant in Internal Medicine at Manipal Hospital, Ghaziabad, says, “During the monsoon season, viral infections are increasing in different age groups. Among these, dengue is the most common one caused by mosquito bites. Recently, people have been worried about how severe the dengue virus is and what it means for public health. So, we need to understand the different factors that contribute to this and take action.”
Dr. Ather Pasha, a Consultant in General Medicine at CARE Hospitals, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, adds, “Many things affect how bad dengue infections become, and one big factor is global warming. It creates the right conditions for mosquitoes to breed, the virus to grow, and the disease to change. We need to tackle these climate-related issues to stop dengue and other diseases from spreading.”
There are many reasons why dengue is getting worse, and global warming is a big part of it. Some of the main reasons include:
Why Dengue is Getting Worse
Different Types of Virus
There are different types of the dengue virus, and some are stronger than others. When multiple types are around, it can make cases worse because one type can make another type even more harmful, which is called antibody-dependent enhancement (ADE). If someone gets infected with one type, they can get sicker if they’re infected with a different type later.
Weak Immune System
Sometimes, if someone had dengue before, their immune system doesn’t work as well if they get it again. This makes them more likely to get really sick the next time.
Late Diagnosis and Treatment
If people aren’t diagnosed or treated for dengue early enough, it can turn into more serious forms like dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) or dengue shock syndrome (DSS).
This is a big reason why dengue is spreading. Stagnant water helps mosquitoes that carry the virus, like Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, grow. These mosquitoes live in cities and towns and give the virus to humans.
Dr. Pasha says, “How bad the dengue virus makes people depends on lots of things, and global warming is making some of these things worse.”
Dr. Pasha explains how dengue is getting worse and how global warming is involved:
Dengue spreads mostly through Aedes mosquitoes, like Aedes aegypti. When it’s warmer and more humid, these mosquitoes can grow and live better. So, there are more of them and they can spread the virus more.
Longer Time to Spread
Warm weather makes mosquitoes live longer and work harder. This means they can give the virus to more people for a longer time.
Mosquitoes Act Differently
Global warming can change how mosquitoes act. They might bite more often, which spreads the virus faster.
More Places for Dengue
Warmer weather helps mosquitoes live in places that were too cold for them before. This lets the virus spread to more people and make outbreaks worse.
Not Enough Help
Places where there are lots of dengue cases also have problems because of global warming. They might not have enough resources to fight both problems.
Lots of Rain
Global warming can make more rain and big storms. These make places for water to collect and help mosquitoes grow.
Dr. Bhat suggests, “All of these things together make dengue really bad. We need to do many things to stop it. We have to control mosquitoes, teach people about health, find and treat the disease sooner, and also fight climate change. During the rainy season, keep your surroundings clean, don’t let water stand, use nets and sprays to avoid mosquitoes, wear safe clothes, and put screens on doors and windows. If there’s a vaccine for dengue, think about getting it to lower your chance of getting sick. And if you have symptoms like a high fever, bad headaches, joint pain, or a rash, go see a doctor.”