Global heating driving spread of mosquito-borne dengue fever
Across Asia the scale of outbreaks has been taking communities by surprise. In Pakistan one city hospital in Rawalpindi admitted more than 2,000 dengue patients in a single weekend in October. Across the country a record-breaking 47,000 people have been infected this year, almost double the previous high of 27,000 in 2011.
Mosquitoes have also brought dengue to places where it has never been seen before, including the hills of Nepal, never warm enough in previous years for the disease to take hold. In Nepal there have been nearly 14,000 cases of dengue since mid-July. The previous record was 2,000 two years ago.
The dengue season in Kathmandu is usually short, mild and over by November. But Dr Dev Basu Pandey said he was still treating dengue patients on his ward at the Sukrara Tropical and Infectious Diseases hospital in the Nepalese capital. “Usually there would not be dengue still at this time of year,” he said. “But this year it is still warm, even once the sun has set. We have never seen an outbreak like this; people are afraid.”