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“Growing Concern: Mosquito-Borne Diseases Surge Across Europe”

An invasive mosquito species, the tiger mosquito, has established populations in 13 EU countries, contributing to a surge in dengue fever cases across Europe. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control attributes the spread of these mosquitoes to climate change, which creates favorable conditions for their proliferation. Even as far north as Paris, authorities are monitoring and trapping these insects, especially with the upcoming Olympic Games. The ECDC warns that international travel could exacerbate the risk of further outbreaks.

To mitigate this threat, individuals are advised to eliminate stagnant water where mosquitoes breed, use repellents, and install screens on windows and doors. The presence of tiger mosquitoes, known for transmitting diseases like dengue fever and Zika virus, has become increasingly prevalent in European countries, with concerns particularly high for the spread of aedes aegypti, which carries diseases like yellow fever, now established in Cyprus.

Getty Images A man hunts for invasive mosquitos in Paris near the Stade de France on 28 May
On the hunt for invasive mosquitoes in Paris, near the Stade de France

Dengue, initially presenting flu-like symptoms, can escalate into a severe and potentially fatal illness. Mass outbreaks of dengue fever have been increasing in recent years, with eight incidents of multiple infections reported in France, four in Italy, and two in Spain last year alone. The majority of dengue cases in Europe are imported, reflecting the global movement of people and goods, with imported cases reaching nearly 5,000 last year. However, there is also a concerning rise in locally-acquired infections, with 130 reported cases in 2023 compared to 71 the previous year.

Additionally, West Nile virus, another mosquito-borne disease, has expanded its presence across Europe, with reports of infection emerging in more regions than ever before. A recent case of West Nile virus infection in southern Spain in early March underscores how climate conditions are fostering a conducive environment for mosquitoes, even during the early months of the year, as highlighted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

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