"Climate Change Could Boost U.S. Dengue Fever Cases"

"Climate change could push dengue fever into all corners of the United States, as the mosquitoes that can carry the traditionally tropical virus survive warmer U.S. winters, researchers said on Wednesday.

Known colloquially as breakbone fever for the aching bones that are one symptom of the disease, dengue fever can be treated effectively with bed rest and liquids, but it often goes undiagnosed in the United States.

Two species of mosquitoes capable of transmitting dengue fever have been spotted in 28 states and Washington D.C., according to a report by the Natural Resources Defense Council. Cases of the disease have been reported in every U.S. state, but many of those are so-called imported cases where the patient was infected by mosquitoes elsewhere in the world.

Dengue fever, a long-standing problem in tropical areas, was until recently rare in most of the United States, except along the Texas-Mexico border. That could be changing due to a range of factors including global warming, scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council said in a report."

Deborah Zabarenko reports for Reuters July 8, 2009.

Thursday, July 9, 2009