British holidaymakers heading to the Mediterranean are at risk of tropical diseases, scientists warn
- Climate change means Mediterranean Europe is more prone to African diseases
- Med is now harbouring disease-carrying insects such as the tiger mosquito
- Outbreaks of viruses are more common as seasons get hotter on the continent
British tourists heading for Mediterranean hotspots could be at risk from tropical diseases that are moving north from Africa, scientists are warning.
Climate change means Mediterranean Europe harbours disease-carrying insects such as the tiger mosquito and is ‘now a part-time tropical region’, the scientists will tell a conference today.
Climate change means Mediterranean Europe harbours disease-carrying insects such as the tiger mosquito and is ‘now a part-time tropical region’, the scientists will tell a conference today
But experts say as temperatures slowly rise, these outbreaks could become more common.
Dr Giovanni Rezza, of the infectious diseases department at the Istituto Superiore di Sanitá in Rome, said: ‘Longer hot seasons will enlarge the seasonal window for the potential spread of vector-borne diseases and favour larger outbreaks.’
Dengue and chikungunya have been largely confined to tropical and sub-tropical regions because freezing weather kills the eggs of the tiger mosquito, which carries the viruses that cause them.
But global warming is letting the insect penetrate further north, and it could even move into southern Britain, say scientists attending the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in Amsterdam.
Ticks which carry Lyme disease and tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) are advancing north too, in part due to rising temperatures, said Professor Jan Semenza of the European Centre For Disease Prevention And Control in Stockholm.
In the last 30 years there has been a 400 per cent rise in TBE cases in Europe, with 65,000 a year now reported.
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