Climate change fuelling surge in mosquito-borne diseases in Europe, says ECDC

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) says climate change is increasing the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in Europe.

In its report published on Tuesday, ECDC said cases of dengue fever, West Nile virus, chikungunya and Zika virus are rising significantly.

The agency said Aedes Albopictus, an invasive species of mosquito, has been discovered in 13 EU countries including France, Spain and Greece.

Others are Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Belgium, Cyprus, Czechia, Slovakia, and the Netherlands.


The report said warmer temperatures due to climate change are creating favourable conditions for mosquitoes to spread.

In 2023, ECDC said 130 locally acquired cases of dengue were reported, compared to 71 in 2022. This, it said, was a “significant increase” from 2010 to 2021 when the total number of cases was 73.

Imported cases were also on the rise, with 1,572 reported in 2022 and 4,900 in 2023.


For West Nile virus, 713 locally acquired cases and 67 deaths were reported in 123 different regions in nine EU countries in 2023.

“It is widely anticipated that climate change will largely impact the spread of mosquito-borne diseases in Europe,” ECDC said.

“For instance, through the creation of environmental conditions favourable for the establishment and growth of mosquito populations.”

ECDC said measures such as insecticidal nets and indoor residual spraying are crucial to combat the mosquito-borne illnesses.


Andrea Ammon, ECDC director, warned that international travel will further increase the risk of more European outbreaks.

“Europe is already seeing how climate change is creating more favourable conditions for invasive mosquitoes to spread into previously unaffected areas and infect more people with diseases such as dengue,” she said.

“What we can see is that there is a connection between a higher temperature in summer, a milder winter and the spread of the mosquitos further in areas where they are not present right now.

“Increased international travel from dengue-endemic countries will also increase the risk of imported cases, and inevitably also the risk of local outbreaks.”


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), dengue fever is endemic in more than 100 countries, with more than six million cases and 7,000 deaths reported in 2023.


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