UK Malaria warning: Deadly disease could be heading BACK to Britain– expert sounds alarm

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Scientists have been raising alarm bells over the potentially deadly impacts of human-burned fossil fuels on the environment.  As temperatures get warmer, many diseases from warmer regions spread further around the world. Last week, Australia was hit with its first-ever major outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis, a condition that causes brains to swell up. Many experts have attributed the cause of the disease to global warming. 

Colin Michie, Deputy Lead for Students and Teaching in the School of Medicine at the University of Central Lancashire, has warned that the UK is not immune to these threats.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, he said: “Climate change will change the pattern of a number of water-borne diseases in the UK. 

“These include harmful algal blooms which can result in the production of a range of different toxins. 

“These kill marine species and can harm human food chains and food safety.”

He also warned that another way that climate change will affect the UK is by impacting a number and species of disease vectors, like mosquitos. 

Mosquitos are responsible for a number of deadly diseases in many parts of the world, like malaria and dengue. 

He continued: “In particular, a range of new mosquito and midge species will migrate to the UK for longer periods and further north. 

“These could carry diseases that affect domesticated animals. 

“A key example of this is bluetongue in sheep, which will become a growing issue across the UK as temperatures rise. 

“More significantly, dangerous new species of mosquitoes that feed on humans will be able to become more active in the UK in a warmer climate, such as the ‘tiger’ mosquito.”

The last malaria outbreak in the UK occurred between 1917 and 1921, as troops fighting in World War 2 returned home. 

But Mr Michie warned that the Tiger mosquito could spread diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and possibly malaria. 

He noted: “Malaria was once common in Lancashire, where it was known as ‘the ague’. 

“There is a potential for this disease to return to the UK as these insects become more prevalent. 

“Finally, increased temperatures in the UK are predicted to alter tick populations. 

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“This will make the infections they spread more common in humans, domesticated and wild animals.”

While very few people die in the UK as a result of malaria, cases around the world remain extremely high. 

According to the WHO, an estimated 627000 people around the world died of malaria. 

Mr Michie warned that in the UK, climate change could cause significant damage to fishing industries, as bacteria negatively affect fish stocks. 

He added: “In the UK, climate change is likely to warm seas into which effluent is currently discharged. 

This will result in a change in the bacteriological conditions in those estuaries. 

“Impacts from this could be significant, affecting all marine and estuary species and possibly having a direct impact on communities and fishing.” 

Express has reached out to UKHSA for comment.

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