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Neglected diseases

A graph a day… 27th June 2024

Life in the tropics is often dangerous. Hot and humid conditions not only directly affect health but are also ideal for pests and diseases. Research is one way in which tropical diseases can be combated.

But, very little investment goes into diseases such as Dengue, Zika, and Chagas, or parasites such as Leishmaniasis or Schistosomiasis, despite their prevalence. Even TB, not limited to tropics, is not given enough attention.

Climate change is likely to spread pests and diseases beyond their current range. Even temperate climate regions might soon find themselves at risk of dengue, Zika, or malaria. We need more ways to prevent and fight the possible outbreaks.

Mosquitoes, dengue, Zika, …

Zica virus aedes aegypti mosquito on human skin - Dengue, Chikungunya, Mayaro, Yellow fever

A Graph a Day… 7th June 2024

I am afraid I have been too busy to post here regularly. It has been an incredibly busy period, with several projects ending or nearing end, and several trips abroad. But, I am hoping to get back into regular posting and so I am very grateful to my regular readers.

This brief post is about mosquitoes, climate change, and dengue. As the temperatures rise globally, insects – and diseases for which the insects are vectors – that so far have been confined to tropics are moving north.

As seen in the map below, cases of both dengue and Zika have been found in the European South.

Since January 1, 2024, more than 1,679 cases of dengue have been imported into mainland France, compared to 131 cases over the same period in 2023. Although most cases are mild and do not result in further transmission, there is considerable concern that it will get worse with the continuing climate change.

The mosquitoes – the potential vectors of these diseases – are certainly present there. The map below shows the distribution of tiger mosquitoes, Aedes albopictus. An even more dangerous species of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, is already present in Cyprus and Madeira.

Continuing with the theme of mosquitoes, the link below is to a new paper on how infection changes the behaviour of insects. Such a change is not unique to mosquitoes and has been seen in many species – possibly including humans. But this is a potential topic for another A Graph a Day…