Nearly half of the world's population is at risk from dengue fever. Diagnosed cases have increased eightfold in the last decade, a rise fuelled by global warming. August 26 marks the International Day against this disease endemic in more than 100 tropical and subtropical countries, which is beginning to affect new areas, including Europe.
Today it is difficult to see science policies that do not mention citizen science or citizen participation in science. On World Mosquito Day, which is celebrated on August 20, we analyze what has been achieved by the Mosquito Alert project, based on citizen science and which the Ministry of Health has supported this summer within the framework of the National Plan for Disease Prevention, Surveillance and Control Transmitted by Vectors.
A study of nearly 3,000 Latin Americans who attended the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona over 17 years showed that 47% were infected by the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Of these, 17% also presented cardiac alterations derived from the disease. The study reveals that there is under-diagnosis in Spain, as there is in endemic areas. However, due to the characteristics of the research, the authors point out that "these data cannot be used to estimate the prevalence of infection in the general Latin American population living in Spain", which is notably lower according to other studies. The results are published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The Regional Ministry of Health of the Xunta of Galicia reported a few days ago that it had detected a case of tuberculosis in a high school in Ourense. Yesterday it confirmed that it is following up the contacts of the case after 19 positive tuberculin tests were detected, which implies contact with the bacteria but not necessarily the development of the disease.
Reaction to study associating lung infections in infancy with increased risk of death from respiratory disease in adulthood
People who had a lower respiratory tract infection—such as bronchitis or pneumonia—before the age of two have twice the risk of premature death from respiratory disease in adulthood, according to a study published in The Lancet. The research is based on long-term data from over 3,500 people born from 1946 onwards in England, Scotland and Wales. According to the study, one in five premature deaths in this representative sample could be due to respiratory infections. The team adjusted their estimate by taking into account factors such as socioeconomic status in childhood and smoking in adulthood.
The Centre for the Coordination of Alerts and Health Emergencies (CCAES) reported yesterday that last February Germany reported two cases of dengue (one confirmed and one probable), along with four cases compatible with epidemiological links, in residents of Germany who had travelled to Ibiza during the incubation period. One of the potential vectors of dengue is the Aedes albopictus mosquito, which was first detected in Ibiza in 2014. According to the CCAES, the risk of new autochthonous cases appearing in Ibiza, "at this time of low vector activity, is considered low".
Several media outlets are reporting cases of "camel flu" or MERS-CoV at the World Cup in Qatar, including three French national team players. However, no cases have been confirmed and the news reports speak of non-specific symptoms that could be due to any other infectious condition. This coronavirus, discovered in 2012, has a high case fatality rate and before the start of the competition, the WHO had already asked fans travelling to the country to watch out for possible symptoms.
Reactions to the increase in 'Streptococcus pyogenes' infections in the UK and the situation in Spain
In recent weeks, the UK Health Safety Agency has detected an unusual increase in infections with Streptococcus pyogenes bacteria. At least 13 children under the age of 15 have died from this pathogen, which is responsible for mild infections but also for more serious conditions such as invasive disease. The Spanish Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases has reported that there have been some deaths in Spain - the Community of Madrid has reported two deaths - and is analysing whether there has been an unusual increase in cases.
The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) has detected an unusual increase in Streptococcus pyogenes infections in the last month. This bacterium is responsible for mild infections, but also for more serious conditions such as scarlet fever and, above all, invasive disease. The British authorities have raised the alarm after at least eight children died from this pathogen. In Spain, the Spanish Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases has reported that there have also been some deaths and is analysing whether there has been an unusual increase in cases.
The WHO has published the first list of priority fungal pathogens, which affect more than 300 million people and kill at least 1.5 million people every year. However, funding to control this scourge is less than 1.5 % of that devoted to infectious diseases.