India accounts for one-third of the world’s annual dengue cases, the first global mapping study of the disease has revealed. The study, conducted by an international consortium led by Oxford Universirty, estimated that 33 million of the more than 130 million annual infections in India significantly disrupt the lives of affected patients.
Dengue is a viral infection transmitted between hum-ans by the mosquito Aedes aegypti that thrives in tropical urban areas.
“The magnitude of this new result shows [that] international control of dengue must now view India in a new light,” said professor Samir Bhatt, spatial ecology and epidemiology group, Oxford University, via email. “There is an urgent need for India, with its fast growing cities and climate suitable for dengue, to recognise the disease as an important problem that is likely to get worst in the coming years.”
The 18-member team estimated through modelling studies that the global den-gue burden stands at 390 million annually, which is thrice the WHO estimate of 50-100 million infections per year. The study also shows that Asia bears 70% of the dengue burden followed by Americas (14%) and Africa (16%).
“Over the past 50 years, the emergence of Asian mega-cities that are increasingly interconnected by air and ground travel have allowed dengue to thrive and spread, and nowhere is this more apparent than in India,” said Bhatt.
Researchers said that in the absence of vaccines or specific treatment for dengue, the aim of the study is to improve disease control strategies.