The Maricopa County Department of Health announced Monday that it has confirmed a case of dengue fever in humans, believed to have originated from an infected mosquito in Arizona.
“Routine mosquito monitoring conducted by Maricopa County Environmental Services Department (MCESD) has detected dengue virus in a mosquito trap in a county neighborhood,” the health department said in a press release.
The mosquito-borne disease infects 400 million annually and kills up to 40,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but most of the cases reported in the lower 48 states, the CDC states on its website, are “in infected elsewhere.” travellers”. .”
Officials in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and its densely populated area, are sending teams to neighborhoods to offer free testing for the disease and provide information about mosquito bite prevention and reproduction.
While global temperatures have continued to rise over the past century due to climate change, dengue fever has spread dramatically. A study published this year in the journal Frontiers in Public Health found that due to climate change, the disease “will affect 60 percent of the world’s population by 2080.”
“Currently, dengue is taking its toll, and climate change is one of the main reasons contributing to the intensification of dengue transmission,” the study states. “The main climatic factors associated with dengue transmission are temperature, rainfall and relative humidity.”
Currently, the estimated 100 million people who fall ill with dengue each year can experience symptoms ranging from flu-like symptoms to severe bleeding, organ failure and death. The World Health Organization notes that the rapid rise in dengue cases is a recent phenomenon.
“The number of dengue cases reported to WHO has increased more than eightfold over the past two decades, from 505,430 cases in 2000 to over 2.4 million in 2010 and 5.2 million in 2019. The reported deaths between the year 2000 and 2015 have risen from 960 to 4032, which mainly affects the younger age group,” the WHO states on its website, adding: “Before 1970, only 9 countries experienced severe dengue epidemics. The disease is now endemic in more than 100 countries in the WHO regions of Africa, the Americas, the Eastern Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.”
A paper published in 2020 by researchers in Taiwan and highlighted by the National Institutes of Health links rising temperatures to the surge in dengue cases worldwide.
“Climate change is considered one of the main factors increasing dengue transmission intensity,” the paper states.