An epidemic season that began early, which at the end of May had already recorded double the number of cases compared to 2021. Singapore Sounds Dengue Alarm and Experts Warn Southeast Asian City-State Numbers Report Bad Signal for Worldwideand not only for the areas traditionally most beaten by Aedes mosquitoes, vector of the virus responsible for ‘bone-splitting fever’: “Global warming due to climate change will eventually expand the geographical areas affected by Dengue and lengthen the transmission season”, says among others Ruklanthi de Alwis, a specialist in emerging infectious diseases at the Duke-Nus Medical School in Singapore, quoted by ‘Cnn’. More frequent and widespread outbreaks are therefore expected in larger areas of the planet.
“As of May 28, 2022 – a spokesman for the Singapore Ministry of Health told the US broadcaster – about 11,670 cases of Dengue had been reported”, more than doubled from 5,258 in 2021, “about 10% of which required hospitalization in the hospital “. And if hospitalizations remain at a “manageable level” for now and there have been no deaths at the moment, the most risky season has just begun and the fear for the coming months paints a picture defined as an “urgent phase of emergency” by the interior affairs minister of Singapore, Desmond Tan.
High fever, severe headache and intense pain are the most common symptoms of Dengue, which in the most serious forms it can also cause bleeding, breathing difficulties, organ failure, and even death. “It’s not an easy disease to cure,” says Singapore doctor Clarence Yeo Sze Kin.
According to a report released in January by the World Health Organization, Dengue currently “is endemic in more than 100 countries” and cases have increased “30 times in the past 50 years. Not only is the number of infections growing as the disease spreads to new areas, but explosive outbreaks are occurring,” adds the WHO.
According to the United Nations Health Agency, the record year for Dengue was 2019, when 5.2 million cases were reported on the planet and bone-splitting outbreaks across Asia killed thousands of people. people. For Singapore, where Dengue has been endemic for decades, annus horribilis was the next one, when the City-State recorded 35,315 cases and 28 deaths. For this year’s anticipated surge, experts are blaming “multiple factors” including “the increasingly hot-humid climate and a new dominant viral strain,” notes de Alwis. The Singapore Meteorological Service notes that the country is warming up 2x faster than the rest of the world, and daily maximum temperatures could reach 37 ° C by 2100 if carbon emissions continue to rise.
The increase in temperature is set to become the norm for climatologist Koh Tieh Yong of the University of Social Sciences in Singapore: “The last decade has been very hot. Compared to 50 years ago, we have about 12 days and 12 nights warmer. “, he specifies. “The extreme weather conditions – echoes his colleague Winston Chow, of the College of Integrative Studies at Singapore Management University – create the perfect conditions for the reproduction of mosquitoes” that transmit Dengue, but not only: Zika and Chikungunya could also enlarge the their range of action, the scientists who call politics to their responsibilities are convinced. Either climate change is slowing down, or its impact on the well-being of global health will become increasingly evident.