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Climate change behind spurt in dengue cases in India: ICMR official

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While dengue cases have climbed, malaria infections have dropped. Erratic and excessive rainfall across the country even towards the end of September is mainly to blame.

Climate change behind spurt in dengue cases in India: ICMR official
The rise in dengue cases in many parts of the country can be attributed to the climate crisis and increasing urbanisation, according to a senior Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) official.
Erratic and excessive rainfall in parts of the country towards the end of September has caused a rise in cases of dengue, while cases of malaria have seen a drop, Dr Rajnikant Srivastava, director ICMR, Gorakhpur, said.
"This year we have witnessed huge and excessive rainfall, and we continue to experience it even towards the end of September... The problem of dengue has been rising again and again because of climate change," Dr Srivastava was quoted by a report in The Times of India.


Erratic rainfall
Dr Srivastava said while the rainfall was not heavy, its intermittent nature has led to a spurt in mosquito breeding sites. Increasing urbanisation was also a factor. "Wherever there is a small space for water to stagnate, the aedes aegypti mosquito starts breeding," he said.
He also attributed the 'mysterious fever' in Uttar Pradesh's Firozabad district, which killed over 175 people, to dengue.
Global warming and dengue
Several scientists and medical journals had earlier warned about the link between global warming and climate change with the spread of diseases such as malaria and dengue.
According to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) published in The Lancet Planetary Health journal, a rise in temperature of nearly 3.7 degrees Celsius over the next 80 years may lead to the “worst-case scenario.”
The study stated that nearly 8.4 billion people (or nearly 90 percent of the estimated population) would be at risk for malaria. In case of dengue, the modelling estimated around 8.5 billion people would be at risk in 2080 compared with an average of 3.8 billion in 1970-1999.
Dengue across the world
According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 400 million people get infected with dengue each year. Out of this, over 25 percent of people fall sick, 100 million people show symptoms, and nearly 22,000 die each year from the disease.


 
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