Authorities in Brazil have reported an explosion in the number of cases of dengue fever as increasingly extreme weather patterns fuel the spread of the potentially lethal mosquito-borne disease.
In recent years, Brazil has suffered a string of outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, including yellow fever in the São Paulo region last year as well as the Zika virus, which spread rapidly through the northeast in 2015.
Some scientists have argued that the current outbreak of dengue, which triggers severe flu-like symptoms, can be attributed to the spread of Zika, which they say left Brazilians more susceptible to the tropical illness. No matter the reason, the numbers are startling:
IN THE FIRST SIX MONTHS OF 2019, LATIN AMERICA’S LARGEST NATION RECORDED ALMOST 1.2 MILLION DENGUE CASES — A JUMP OF ALMOST 600 PERCENT FROM THE SAME PERIOD LAST YEAR.
The number of deaths rose 220 percent to 388. The development is likely to exacerbate concerns about the public health impact of global warming at a time when many world leaders, including Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, are showing little appetite to protect the environment.
The surge is particularly concerning for scientists given it has extended into the winter season, when the disease should decline.[…]