Dengue And Chikungunya Epidemics Spurred By Climate Change: WHO

(CTN News) – In a warning issued by the Dengue World Health Organization on Wednesday, the World Health Organization said that diseases caused by mosquito-borne arboviruses are spreading faster and further as climate change intensifies, warning that global outbreaks could be on the way.


According to experts within the United Nations’ health agency, there are swelling numbers of cases of dengue and chikungunya and new outbreaks of zika are also possible.


It has been found that all three types of diseases are caused by arboviruses that are carried by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, which are spreading into new areas due to a warming planet.

Climate change has played a key role in facilitating the spread of the vector mosquitoes that carry dengue and arboviruses worldwide, according to Raman Velayudhan, who coordinates WHO’s work on dengue and arboviruses. As part of his team of experts on chikungunya and zika, he and his colleague Diana Rojas Alvarez, who is WHO’s technical lead on the diseases, are calling for an urgent action to stem the spread of the mosquitoes amid fears that there could be larger outbreaks in new areas.

Dengue has been identified as a risk in over 129 countries, including 100 countries that have endemic dengue disease.

Velayudhan told reporters in an interview that the number of cases has grown exponentially in recent years, going from around half a million in 2000 to some 5.2 million in 2019, the worst year on record, he said.

The chikungunya virus, which has until now been reported in 115 countries, has been experiencing a dramatic surge in the Americas, Rojas Alvarez told reporters, since it was first discovered in the 1950s.

The number of cases reported there so far this year is around 135,000, compared to the number of cases reported during the first half of 2022, she said.

Perhaps what is most concerning is the growing geographical spread of both diseases, which are occurring further south in the Americas and moving into the northern hemisphere as well, affecting a number of countries in Europe, as well as other parts of the world.

What are the warning signs of dengue?

Warning Signs*

  • Abdominal pain or tenderness.
  • Persistent vomiting.
  • Clinical fluid accumulation.
  • Mucosal bleed.
  • Lethargy or restlessness.
  • Liver enlargement > 2 cm.
  • Laboratory finding of increasing HCT concurrent with rapid decrease in platelet count.


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