June 14, 2024

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Beware of Yellow Fever Resurgence in United States

Infectious Disease Experts Warn: Beware of Yellow Fever Resurgence in United States



Infectious Disease Experts Warn: Beware of Yellow Fever Resurgence in United States

In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, infectious disease experts from Baylor College of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine have emphasized the historical devastation caused by yellow fever between 1820 and 1905 and raised concerns about the potential resurgence of the disease.

As similar diseases are on the rise in the southern United States, experts advocate for enhanced monitoring, the development of antiviral drugs and vaccines, and innovative gene-driven mosquito control techniques.

 

Infectious Disease Experts Warn: Beware of Yellow Fever Resurgence in United States

 

 

Experts are warning that yellow fever could make a comeback in the southern United States and are calling for increased disease monitoring, the development of antiviral drugs, and the adoption of innovative mosquito control measures.

Virus infections transmitted by mosquitoes are on the rise, with the spread accelerating in Texas, Florida, and other southern regions of the United States. Infectious disease experts from Baylor College of Medicine and Stanford University School of Medicine caution that yellow fever could reemerge in the southern United States as mosquito-borne diseases become more prevalent. Their perspective on the potential resurgence of yellow fever is outlined in an article published in the October 19th edition of the New England Journal of Medicine. The article urges prioritizing yellow fever in national pandemic preparedness planning.

 

Historical Impact and Current Situation

Dr. Peter Hotez, Professor and Dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and Co-Director of the Vaccine Development Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, is a co-author of this paper. Yellow fever is a flavivirus and arthropod-borne virus infection, similar to diseases like dengue and Zika but with a significantly higher mortality rate. Yellow fever is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes, which are common in the Caribbean, Latin America, and southern U.S. cities, such as Texas and Florida.

Hotez states, “We’ve seen an increase in mosquito-borne diseases in Texas and Florida, including malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika virus. But now we’re also concerned about yellow fever because it appears to be spreading rapidly in tropical regions of Latin America, such as Brazil and Venezuela. High-mortality infectious diseases like yellow fever reappearing in the southern United States would have severe consequences for societal stability.”

 

Recommended Measures and Expert Views

Experts suggest expanding monitoring activities through strengthening local health departments to prevent and control mosquito-borne diseases and the development of antiviral drugs, vaccines, and new gene-driven technologies (permanent alteration of insect genes through genetic engineering) to control mosquitoes.

“The mosquitoes that transmit yellow fever are already here in the United States, and with global warming, conditions are becoming more favorable for them,” says Dr. Desiree LaBeaud, a pediatric infectious disease professor at Stanford School of Medicine and co-author of the publication. “We need a comprehensive plan to better protect high-risk communities in the southern United States from the threat of mosquito-borne diseases.”

Hotez adds, “One of the reasons we established the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor University was to recognize that tropical infectious diseases have become a new normal due to climate change, urbanization, and poverty in the Gulf Coast and Texas.”

 

Infectious Disease Experts Warn: Beware of Yellow Fever Resurgence in United States

(source:internet, reference only)


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