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WHO highlights dengue as a top global health threat for 2019

At the start of the year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a list of ten focal threats to global health that it forsees for 2019, with the aim of galvanising attention from the WHO as well as health partners worldwide. Dengue is featured as one of these priority threats, along with HIV, Ebola and other high-threat pathogens.

In addition, a range of issues including vaccine hesitancy, air pollution and climate change, noncommunicable diseases, a global influenza pandemic, fragile and vulnerable settings, antimicrobial resistance and weak primary health care were also cited as part of this list and many of these are also closely interconnected with the rapid spread of mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue fever.

This fits in with the World Health Organization's new 5-year strategic plan launched in 2018: the 13th General Programme of Work. This plan focuses on a triple billion target: ensuring 1 billion more people benefit from access to universal health coverage, 1 billion more people are protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoy better health and well-being. Dengue fever threatens nearly half of the world's population, with the highest burden falling in poorer areas with insufficient resources, and efforts to prevent and control this rapidly-growing threat will significantly contribute to reaching strategic global health goals.

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