WHO warns Zika, dengue could trigger next pandemic
WHO warns Zika, dengue could trigger next pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned that insect-borne illnesses such as Zika and dengue fever could be the source of the next pandemic.

Dengue, yellow fever, chikungunya, and zika viruses are all serious public health risks in tropical and sub-tropical countries, where nearly 3.9 billion people live. Globally, the frequency and severity of epidemics of these arboviruses, particularly those transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, are growing, owing to a convergence of ecological, economic, and societal variables.

Dengue fever infects 390 million people annually in 130 countries where it is endemic, said WHO, while the Zika virus created an outbreak in 2016 after it was discovered to cause birth problems such as microencephaly. It has been found in a total of 89 nations. Yellow fever, like dengue fever, has a significant risk of outbreaks in 40 countries. It causes jaundice, severe haemorrhagic fever, and mortality. Chikungunya, a lesser-known virus that causes severe and joint-disabling arthritis, is found in 115 countries.

The WHO claimed there are indicators that the risk these diseases bring is "growing." Experts are trying to devise methods to prevent the next outbreak from becoming a disaster. Arboviruses are at the top of the priority list.

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