Temperature rises brought by El Niño hurricane affect Dengue epidemics according to international team of researchers
The study was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
As 390 million dengue virus cases emerge each year in the tropical and subtropical areas, Dengue hemorrhagic fever (the sever form of dengue) can be fatal in lack of proper treatment. The disease spreads by the Aedes aegypti mosquito bites. There are four strains of the virus, known as DENV1, -2, -3 and -4. No specific treatments and no vaccines have been completely developed so far.
The periodic influence of El Niño over the parts of equatorial Pacific seems to influence dengue epidemic, new study shows. As currently the most intense El Niño in the last 20 years is developing in the ocean, scientists fear that dengue epidemic will severely affect Southeast Asia early next year.
A team of international researchers from 18 countries analyzed continental-scale patterns of the disease during 1997-1998 El Niño hurricane, including 18 years of dengue outbreaks with a total of 3.5 million reported cases.
Study lead-author, Prof. Derek Cummings underlines scientists should understand why dengue infection levels vary from year to year to properly prepare for the disease’s worst outbreaks. “During years of large incidence, the number of people requiring hospitalization and care can overwhelm health systems. If we can understand the factors that contribute to these increases, we can prepare for them and act to mitigate the impact of the disease. A multi-country coordination of surveillance for dengue is critical to understanding patterns in each individual country”, he declares.
After observing synchronized dengue incidence and temperature rise, new study concludes that increased temperature leads to increased rates of disease and that urban areas act as “pacemakers” for the spread of the dengue into rural areas.
Understanding the cyclical nature of dengue fever outbursts can help local authorities prepare for the worst-case-scenario and take immediate measures to counter its effects in severely affected regions.