Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Dengue fever is surging worldwide. A hotter planet will make it worse.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The curly-haired girl came to the emergency room with fever, aches and signs of dehydration, common indications of many childhood illnesses. But the 9-year-old - pale and listless beneath her Pokémon blanket - looked sicker than most children and exhibited no respiratory symptoms. She could only whimper as a pediatrician stroked her hair and softly questioned her in Spanish.

The sharp-eyed doctor suspected dengue, a disease that is often missed but is now exploding around the world.

The girl, Genesis Polanco Marte, is among a record 10 million people who have fallen ill with dengue so far this year - an unprecedented surge that scientists say is fueled in part by climate change. Soaring global temperatures have accelerated the life cycles and expanded the ranges of the mosquitoes that carry dengue, helping spread the virus to roughly 1 in every 800 people on the planet in the past six months alone. An influx of patients has overwhelmed hospitals from Brazil to Bangladesh, recalling the worst days of the coronavirus pandemic. Puerto Rico declared a public health emergency this spring, with more dengue cases reported in the first five months of 2024 than all of last year. Public health officials are bracing for the virus to crop up in more temperate regions, including the southernmost portions of the United States.


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