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Climate change puts Europe at dengue risk

Posted on Aug 22 2014 | IANS

London, Aug 22 : Dengue fever could make headway in popular European holiday destinations if climate change continues on its predicted trajectory, according to an alarming research.

The study by University of East Anglia (UEA) used current data from Mexico where dengue fever is present and information about the European Union (EU) countries in order to model the likelihood of the disease spreading in Europe.

They found that coastal regions in around the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, the Po Valley and North East Italy were most at risk.

"Our study has shown that the risk of dengue fever is likely to increase in Europe under climate change," said lead researcher Paul Hunter from UEA's Norwich Medical School.

For this study, researchers wanted to estimate how likely the disease is to become established in Europe as its climate changes up to the end of the century.

The results of the long-term projections found an increased risk of the disease when compared to baseline conditions.

The incidence rate is predicted to go from two per 100,000 inhabitants to 10 per 100,000 in some places.

The areas anticipated to be at most risk were found to be along the Italian cost and Po Valley in Italy, the Spanish Mediterranean and southern Spain in general.

Each year, dengue infects 50 million people worldwide and causes approximately 12,000 deaths, mostly in south-east Asia and the western Pacific.

The study appeared in the journal BMC Public Health.

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