Pathogens are rapidly conquering new habitats in Europe. They bring Dengue, Chikungunya or West Nile viruses.
Mosquito or tick-borne diseases could soon be more common in Europe. The circulation of carriers such as dengue fever, leishmaniasis or chikungunya is growing rapidly, researchers say. They will discuss new findings at the European Congress on Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, which started yesterday in Amsterdam and lasts until Tuesday.
As reasons for the development researchers mentioned in a communication to the Congress among other things the climate change and the increasing globalization. These changes allowed mosquitoes and ticks to develop new habitats in Europe.
For the past ten years, there have been dengue outbreaks in France and Croatia. Malaria has been reported in Greece, Chikungunya in Italy and France, and West Nile fever in much of southern and central Europe.
The disease alone registered more than 1500 cases in 2018 in the Member States of the European Union. Prolonged periods of heat lengthened the time frame for the spread of such diseases and fostered major outbreaks, explains Giovanni Rezza of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome: “We need to prepare ourselves to deal with such tropical infections.”
Germany and France at risk. For example, sandflies could significantly expand their circulation area in France and Germany by the end of the 2060s, experts continue. The mosquitoes can transmit the pathogens of leishmaniasis, an infectious disease that can affect humans and animals. “Given the proliferation of invasive mosquitoes and other carriers throughout Europe, we need to anticipate outbreaks and intervene early,” said Jan Semenza of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm. Health authorities need to improve surveillance and set up early warning systems.