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Professor Tsiodras sounds alarm about potential dengue fever epidemic in Europe

Athens Medical School professor and epidemiologist Sotiris Tsiodras had sounded the alarm about a potential increase of dengue fever cases in Europe due to climate change.

Addressing a public health seminar in Athens on Monday, Tsiodras said that in South America, every hospital bed has a mosquito net to prevent the transmission of dengue fever between patients.

Brazil, where the incidence of the disease has increased by 450% in the last five years, plans to produce billions of mosquitoes infected with a special parasite that will prevent the transmission of dengue fever, he said.

In the first months of 2024, he added, France, Italy and Spain have recorded a 250% increase in dengue cases compared to the corresponding period in 2023, which has been attributed to climate change.

“I find it difficult to imagine that every bed in Greek hospitals will need its own mosquito net,” Tsiodras, who advised the Health Ministry on Covid-19 during the pandemic, said.

The epidemiologist said that climate change has had multiple effects on the spread of communicable diseases in terms of the distribution and ecology of transmitters (such as mosquitoes), water quality and quantity as well as food safety.

Academy of Athens secretary-general Christos Zerefos noted the increase in drought indicators – a decrease in relative humidity in the air and soil – stressing that in 2023 the humidity of the soil in the Mediterranean was below 10%, with disastrous consequences in Greece and Spain.