Mosquitoes have spread diseases that killed more people than all of history’s wars. Now they’re coming with the potentially fatal dengue fever.
Coming Soon To A Puddle Near You: Mosquitoes And Dengue Fever
May 5, 2014

By Milicent Cranor
Next to man, mosquitoes are the most dangerous creatures on earth, public health officials say. The diseases they spread have killed more people than all the wars in history.

Poisonous spiders and snakes can kill you, but they tend to mind their own business, and it usually doesn’t involve you. Not so with mosquitoes. You are their business.

Mosquitoes are spreading more and more disease in this country—and there’s more of it to spread in the first place. This is partly because of infected people entering the U.S. from places where infectious diseases are flourishing.

An especially dangerous disease to look out for in the coming months is dengue fever, which can be fatal. It is also under-recognized. But, between 2011 and 2012, known cases of dengue increased by 70 percent in the continental U.S.—357 cases up from 251—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Most occurred in Florida, New York, and California. In that same period, cases in Puerto Rico nearly tripled to 4,450. (Click here for an updated map of the disease worldwide.)

Dengue has spread from nine countries to more than 100 in 50 years and is an underestimated risk affecting as many as 390 million people, according to this video by the International Federation of the Red Cross summarizing the global scope of the threat:

One aspect of climate chaos—global warming—may contribute to the spread. According to Scientific American:

The increased warming predicted for the southern U.S. along with increased flooding means dengue fever will no doubt be spreading north on the backs of mosquitoes into U.S. states that never thought they would have to deal with such exotic outbreaks.

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