Climate Change May Already Be Causing Mosquito-Borne Epidemics In Some Countries
For people living in developed countries in the western world, insect-borne diseases may not seem like a big concern. In the west medical care is more readily available to citizens, living conditions are relatively sanitary and public health concerns are well addressed by an abundance of experts. However, there are plenty of countries in the world today where mosquito-borne epidemics did not seem likely to occur either. As a result of climate change, climatic catastrophes are increasing around the world. Just recently the state of Texas has seen dense swarms of mosquitoes around the Corpus Christi area as a result of the recent hurricanes. Luckily, public health officials are working hard to coordinate public health measures in order to prevent the spread of mosquito-borne diseases. A region of the world that has been hit particularly hard is southeastern Asia. The country of Vietnam is currently undergoing a crisis, as an epidemic of dengue fever has gripped the populace. The epidemic first hit the country in the weeks following several violent hurricanes that ravaged the country during the late summer months. During the past week alone ten thousand Vietnamese citizens have become infected with the mosquito-borne illness known as dengue fever. The recent dengue outbreaks have been exhausting Vietnam’s medical resources.
Dengue fever is common in the southeastern region of Asia, but the amount of infected individuals represents at least forty two times the amount of victims who succumbed to the disease last year in the country. So far nearly ninety one thousand citizens of Vietnam have become infected with dengue. Seventy six thousand of these individuals have been hospitalized, and twenty four have died from the infection. According to the Vietnamese government’s Ministry of Health, the rapid influx of dengue infections comes as a result of higher temperatures, higher humidity levels, increased amounts of rain and rapid urbanization that allows mosquitoes greater access to humans. Unfortunately, there are currently no cures for the four different strains of the dengue virus. Treatment can be effective at reducing symptoms and involves the use of antibiotics.
Do you believe that more western researchers should focus on finding vaccines for mosquito-borne diseases that are more common in other parts of the world?