The World Health Organization warned on Friday that cases of dengue fever could reach close to record highs this year, partly due to global warming benefiting mosquitoes that spread it.
Dengue rates are rising globally, with reported cases since 2000 up eight-fold to 4.2 million in 2022, WHO said.
The disease was found in Sudan’s capital Khartoum for the first time on record, according to a health ministry report in March, while Europe has reported a surge in cases and Peru declared a state of emergency in most regions.
In January, WHO warned that dengue is the world’s fastest-spreading tropical disease and represents a “pandemic threat”.
About half of the world’s population is now at risk, Dr. Raman Velayudhan, a specialist at the WHO’s control of neglected tropical diseases department, told journalists in Geneva on Friday.
Reported cases to WHO hit an all-time high in 2019 with 5.2 million cases in 129 countries, said Velayudhan via a video link. This year the world is on track for “4 million plus” cases, depending mostly on the Asian monsoon season.