There have been cases of dengue in parts of France and Croatia, as well on the Portuguese island of Madeira, but even so, the disease is a low priority for many European governments. However, a team of scientists from Sweden fear that dengue could start to be a regular – not an isolated – problem in Europe, and is calling for a shift in policy thinking as a result.
Earlier this year, researchers from Umeå University in Sweden published the findings of their project, investigating how factors such as globalization, travel patterns, and climate change might affect the scope of dengue’s impact. The scientists involved believe it is only a matter of time before the continent may face a dengue epidemic of its own. Their message is clear: health officials need to start thinking of preventative measures for dealing with dengue. Even the World Health Organization acknowledges that European countries could be at risk of an outbreak of the disease.
The investigators, part of a European-funded initiative called Dengue Tools, used climate and weather pattern modeling to see how changes in average temperature in different parts of the globe could affect the extent of dengue-carrying mosquitoes’ habitat. They’ve called for further research into the topic, to help European governments determine whether or not they need to prepare for a potential outbreak.