Science Reporting

Six billion people may be at risk of dengue fever by the end of the century

A new study takes into account the great threat of dengue fever that is spreading alarmingly in various parts of the world. According to the research, which appeared in Nature Microbiology, the relevant virus could be a source of real risk for more than 6 billion people by the end of this century. Specifically, 20% of the world’s population could contract the virus in 2080 in the most terrible, but also the most pessimistic, hypothesis.

The areas where the spread could increase, and in a fairly massive way, are the southeastern United States, the coastal areas of China and Japan and the internal regions of Australia. These results were obtained by a research group that analyzed in particular data on climate change, urbanization and the planet’s resources to understand the indirect spread of the virus.

In any case, the major changes, at the level of spread, are expected in those areas where dengue fever is already a very real danger and where the disease can be defined as endemic. There is talk of various areas of the African continent, in particular the regions of the Sahel and southern Africa. Surprisingly, the data analyzed does not show a future greater spread of the disease in Europe compared to other areas further away from Africa and less subject to illegal immigration from the latter.

In fact, climate change will contribute to the expansion of dengue, as Oliver Brady, assistant to the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and one of the authors of the study, points out, but other important factors will also be the increase of the human population and urbanization in tropical areas. All these factors will allow mosquitoes to spread and thrive and therefore the virus it carries will do the same.