In the 1970s, dengue was endemic in just 9 countries—now it is gaining ground in over 100, leaving about half the global population at risk of “break bone fever,” The Telegraph reports. This year alone:
- South America has seen 1.6 million cases.
- The Philippines has declared a national epidemic.
- Malaysia has hit record numbers, the Straits Times reports.
- Central America has seen over 10,000 severe dengue cases, Precision Vaccinations reports.
Why? “We dropped the ball on mosquito control in the 1970s, and we’re paying for that now,” says Anne Wilson of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine.
Add to that a “perfect storm” of conditions: climate change, rapid urbanization, poor sanitation, globalization, and mosquitoes thriving in new locations.
If climate change continues apace, dengue stands to reach parts of the Mediterranean, China, Japan and the US in the coming decades.