Killer mosquitoes may wreak havoc in UK as climate change brings exotic diseases

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    Killer mosquitoes carrying dengue fever could wreak havoc in the UK due to climate change, experts warned.

    They fear the pests could live here by mid-century because of the warmer conditions. Muggier weather has allowed the Asian tiger mozzies to swarm across much of Europe in recent years.

    It is known for its striped body and its potential to spread dengue fever, also known as "breakbone fever" thanks to its nasty symptoms, as well as zika virus and chikungunya – diseases normally found in the tropics. Professor Dame Jenny Harries, UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) chief executive, said: “Things that when I trained many years ago were called tropical diseases will actually become national domestic diseases.

    READ MORE: 'Breakbone fever' fears have health bosses lining UK with traps for mosquito invasion

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    “In the summer of 2022, UK temperatures reached above 40C for the first time on record. We had nearly 3,000 excess deaths recorded across that extended heat period.”

    A UKHSA report warned dengue fever could be passed around in London by 2060 while the Asian tiger mosquito could become common across England in the 2040s.

    Giant mosquito nets are already being installed around the UK in a bid to preempt the arrival of the insects, the Daily Star previously reported. Dr Jolyon Medlock, Head of Medical Entomology at UKHSA, previously told the Telegraph the traps are being set now and will hopefully be in operation by the Spring of next year. “We’re expanding as the threat increases. In the last two years, there have been an increasing number of cases of dengue in Europe,” Dr Medlock explained.

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    “It’s all about ensuring we’re using the right traps in the right place.”

    The nets are being installed in ports, service stations and truck stops to prevent the pesky insects from making their way into the country in shipping containers or aboard other cargo-carrying vehicles. Officials are also being trained in how to spot mozzies.

    A British woman has already been infected with dengue during a holiday to Nice, France, in September 2022. The 44-year-old attended A&E complaining of a fever, headache, muscle pain and a rash. Her symptoms persisted for three days but did not require further medical treatment.

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    According to the NHS, dengue fever can't be spread from person to person and those infected with the disease don't always feel ill. If a patient is symptomatic, they may experience a high temperature, a severe headache, pain behind the eyes, muscle and joint pain, swollen glands, a blotchy rash made up of either flat or slightly raised spots. They may also feel or be sick.

    In extreme cases dengue patients may require hospital treatment. Severe dengue can cause additional symptoms including severe tummy pain, repeatedly being sick including throwing up blood, fast breathing, bleeding gums or nose, fatigue, restlessness and blood in stools.

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    • Health issues
    • Climate Change

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