i morning briefing: Could mosquito-borne disease really happen in the UK?

Welcome to Monday’s Early Issue of I.

Brief but painful mosquito bites generally don’t top the list of worries when outdoors in the British summer. Viruses such as dengue are usually associated with the tropics – they cause high delirious fevers that seem more suited to hot, humid climates. But now, alongside a myriad of other problems threatening climate change, is the prospect of mosquito-borne diseases. In April, the case of a 44-year-old British woman who came down with dengue fever in Nice, in the south of France made headlines. In the summer of 2022, the Agence Régionale de Santé in France reported three separate domestic dengue virus outbreaks. “With climate change, especially hotter temperatures and more rainfall, and increasing global trade and tourism, we may see more parts of Europe with the right combination of factors for dengue outbreaks,” one expert warned last year. Of major concern is the emergence of the tiger mosquito, which carries dengue and the Zika virus. How real is the risk in the UK, and is anything being done to address it? We’ll look at the headlines.

Today’s news, and why it matters

The British public blames the Government for high inflation and believes Rishi Sunak is doing a “terrible” job of managing itnew voting for I show. An adult survey by BMG Polling places the responsibility for high prices on the Government first and foremost, while also blaming corporate profiteering, the pandemic, and Brexit. Meanwhile, more adults believe Britain should rejoin the European Union rather than remain outside it, a survey of 1,500 people conducted by BMG Polling for I revealed, with 45 percent of voters now in favor of returning to the EU.

The number of fixed mortgage deals under 6 percent has plunged by almost a third in just a week, exclusive figures for me to reveal, causing fears that 5 percent flat rate deals will soon be no longer available. Data from Moneyfacts showed on Friday only 27 percent of all two-year improvements in the market were under 6 percent. Last week, 40 percent; a year ago it was 98 percent. No two-year improvement at all below 5 percent.

Fuel poverty campaigners are calling for green levies designed to fund schemes like home isolation to be funded through taxation rather than fed back into energy bills. The two-year suspension of the levy, which adds around £170 a year to energy bills, was announced last fall by the Liz Truss government amid rising fuel prices. But that funding has ended after just nine months, along with the end of the energy price guarantee.

More than 70 per cent of people in England believe costs for NHS care are on the way and will roll in over the next decade, a poll has revealed. A survey conducted for the Health Foundation published in the Guardian said 51% of respondents believed they would have to pay for some services in the next decade, while 13% thought most services would need to be paid up front and 7% anticipated costs for all services.

Marylebone Cricket Club has suspended three members after Australian captain Pat Cummins confirmed his team endured “aggressive and abusive” behavior at Lord’s on the final day of the second Ashes Test.

Nick Kyrgios pulled out of Wimbledon the night before the tournament, citing a wrist injury, a year after he reached his first grand slam final at the All England Club. Kyrgios is seeded 30th in the men’s bracket and is set to face David Goffin on Monday, and will be replaced on the court by a lucky loser.

Tropical mosquitoes – three questions:

What diseases do mosquitoes carry? The Asian tiger mosquito, also known as Aedes albopictus, can transmit dengue, yellow fever, Zika and chikungunya. For many people who get dengue fever, there will be no symptoms, but for those who do catch dengue fever, pain, nausea and a rash. Most people recover within a few weeks, but others require hospitalization, and in severe cases it can be fatal. The WHO describes yellow fever as a “high impact, high threat disease, with a high risk of international spread, representing a potential threat to global health security.” The good news is that there is a vaccine. The horror that the Zika virus can inflict on newborn children has been extensively documented. For most people who contract it, it causes a rash, fever, and joint pain. In 2016, 53 cases of the virus were reported in the UK, in people returning from overseas. Chikungunya is similar to dengue and Zika. In 2014 there were 300 cases of returning travelers with the virus in the UK, but none here. West Nile virus is carried by other mosquitoes, which are already present in the UK, but not the virus. But conditions that allow local transmission, such as rising temperatures and an influx of migratory birds, could occur in the coming decades.

How significant is the threat? In the last decade, scientists have warned that climate change could bring changes to species. Back in 2015, scientists writing in the Lancet Infectious Diseases journal said rising temperatures and more rainfall could make Britain a more attractive home for mosquitoes. The insect-borne disease has spread to previously unaffected parts of the world, including Europe. Several climate models predict the likelihood of localized infection in the UK as early as 2030, as was reported at the time. As of June 30 this year, there were 1,133 cases of West Nile virus recorded in Europe last year, nearly all of which were locally acquired. A UK government contingency plan recently warned that there was an “imminent threat” of mosquitoes becoming established and that the problem of vector-borne diseases such as dengue “could escalate and soon spread to the UK”. As scary as it may sound, the UK is way down the list of countries where this is any sort of immediate threat. Another Lancet study in 2021 said: “The population at risk of developing malaria and dengue fever will be higher in densely populated urban areas in the WHO Africa region, Southeast Asia region and the Americas region.”

What to do about it? As IJane Merrick reports that a number of steps are being taken by authorities and pest control companies to monitor the situation. The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) is stepping up its surveillance of Asian tiger mosquitoes, which were previously mostly monitored in South East England. Its 10-year science strategy promises to “strengthen our vector surveillance to ensure that we identify as early as possible any new threats arriving in the country”. UKHSA scientists worked with local authority pest control officers and harbor health officers in parts of southern England and near harbors and airports to set mosquito traps and analyze samples. Read the full story here.

The Asian tiger mosquito (Aedes albopictus), carries the dengue virus throughout southern Europe (Photo: Jonathan Drake/Bloomberg via Getty)

Around the world

Teenage grandmother Nahel Merzouk, who was killed by police in a Paris suburb, has called for an end to the unrest that has swept France since her death. “They have to stop breaking windows, buses, schools,” he said. “We want everything to be quiet. We don’t want them to be destroyed.”

Yevgeny Prigozhin’s media holding group and ‘troll factory’ will be shut down, the director of one of its outlets said Friday, as exiled Wagner leader watches his empire crumble after an aborted attempted rebellion. Patriot Media was responsible for issuing pro-Kremlin editorial lines, with the outlet providing positive coverage of Prigozhin and Wagner.

At least three Palestinians have been killed and 12 others injured in a major operation by the Israeli army in the West Bank, Palestinian officials say. The Israel Defense Forces said they attacked “terrorist infrastructure in the Jenin area”.

Award-winning Ukrainian writer Victoria Amelina has died of her injuries following a Russian missile attack on the eastern city of Kramatorsk.. The 37-year-old war crimes researcher was with a delegation of journalists and writers in the city’s Ria Lounge when the missile hit last Tuesday. In a statement, PEN Ukraine said: “Doctors and paramedics in Kramatorsk and Dnipro did everything they could to save his life, but his injuries were fatal.”

“The historic old Mussomeli district is turned into ruins, local residents have long since fled their homes and abandoned it,” a restaurant owner in the historic Italian village told i. “Now the British have revived a new life there, tidying up dilapidated properties, investing money and supporting the local economy,” said Cerasa, owner of the popular Divinity cafe. British expatriates are now credited with saving the town “from the grave”.

A mayor in Mexico has married a crocodile as part of a 230 year old tradition. Clad in a bridal veil and tiara of flowers, with her mouth taped shut, a reptile caiman named Alicia Adriana is presented for marriage. The mayor said: “You can’t get married without love… I gave up on marrying princess princess.”

Be careful of…

supermoons. Look in the evening sky today as the moon appears closer to Earth and brighter than usual.

Thoughts for the day

Keir Starmer’s education plan could win him an election – if only he’d told us about it. Why isn’t anyone talking about this when it’s what voters need to hear, asks Hannah Fearn

How to avoid being an obnoxious Englishman abroad – starting with not making a name for yourself in the Colosseum
. If we don’t control bad tourism, travelers will lose out, says Tatty MacLeod.

Wet Leg found that behind every successful woman is a man who craves recognition. Former girlfriend of lead singer Rhian Teasdale claims he is behind some of their hits, writes Rebecca Reid.

Rhian Teasdale of Wet Leg performing at Finsbury Park (Photo: Matthew Baker/Getty Images)

Cultural Break

The 31 best books to read this summer, from the latest Colleen Hoover to Elliot Page’s memoirs. I’s book editors join forces with celebrities and authors including Aisling Bea, Lolly Adefope and Simon Mayo to select the hottest books to keep you entertained on your sun lounger.

Great Read

“I feel guilty for pushing my daughter to join the NHS,” said the doctor of the staffing crisis. The NHS workforce plan aims to recruit thousands more doctors – but the staffing crisis will take years to fix, reports Rob Hastings.

Dr Phil Whitaker, who has been a general practitioner for more than 30 years, is among the NHS staff wondering how spirits can be restored from an all-time low (Photo: Getty Images; Canongate)


England can’t just rely on Ben Stokes to turn Bazball into a win against Australia. It may be in England’s favor that Stokes, for once, doesn’t work another miracle, as it would lessen the impact of their shortfall, writes Chris Stocks.

Stokes can’t shoulder the goalscoring burden alone for England – others must come along (Photo: Getty)

Something to brighten your day

Two graduates have used used plastic bottles to build entire streets of houses for under £7,000. In an effort to tackle the problem of plastic pollution, a pair of young friends built a cheap, sustainable and cool street of houses in India. Gurvinder Singh reports.

The roof and doors are constructed using bamboo and wood (Photo: Gurvinder Singh)

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