Climate Change Linked to Rise in Malaria, Dengue, and Leishmaniasis Cases in Andalucia

Seville, Spain – Over 100 cases of Malaria were reported in Andalucia last year, raising concerns about the spread of insect-borne diseases in the region. The rising temperatures attributed to global warming have created a favorable environment for such illnesses to flourish.

The early arrival of mosquitoes this year, due to a combination of humidity from recent rains and high temperatures, has heightened the risk of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and leishmaniasis in Andalucia. Official data from the Junta revealed 101 cases of malaria, 47 cases of dengue fever, and 76 cases of leishmaniasis in 2023.

Tragically, these diseases led to the loss of three lives in Andalucia last year, including an 81-year-old man succumbing to leishmaniasis, a 68-year-old woman to malaria, and an 84-year-old woman to west Nile fever. In response to the alarming situation, Andalucia has initiated a specialized ‘surveillance and control’ team, known as PEVA, to monitor insect populations and provide guidance on preventing the spread of these diseases.

Jordi Figuerola, a prominent researcher at the DoƱana Biological Station, emphasized that Spain has long experienced imported cases of malaria, typically from travelers returning from affected areas. With the increasing mobility of people and global temperature rise, he warned of a possible surge in cases of diseases like dengue fever reaching Spain.

Figuerola stressed the importance of preventative measures, such as eliminating sources of standing water where mosquitoes breed, like containers and puddles. He advised town halls to focus on fumigating areas where pests gather to curb their population growth and minimize the risk of disease transmission.

In conclusion, the threat of diseases like malaria, dengue fever, and leishmaniasis looms over Andalucia, necessitating proactive measures to protect public health in the face of environmental changes. Increased vigilance and community efforts are essential in combating the spread of these insect-borne illnesses.