UK Health Security Agency boss criticized for tropical disease claims
London, 18 December: A leading expert in mosquito-borne diseases is fiercely critical of Professor Dame Jenny Harries, head of the UK Health Security Agency, calling her recent pronouncements on mosquito-transmitted diseases “entirely fictional” and “shameless”.
Professor Harries was quoted in the media as saying that rising temperatures will make such diseases common in the UK by 2040 because the Asian Tiger Mosquito – which can transmit dengue, chikungunya, zika, yellow fever and other viral diseases – will become established throughout Britain. Dengue will eventually become endemic in London, it is claimed.
But Professor Paul Reiter, retired professor of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, and a leading specialist in this field, has ridiculed her claims:
“The natural range of the Tiger mosquito, an Asian species, extends from the tropics to regions where mean January temperatures are around minus ten degrees Celsius. Northern strains are able to survive because in late summer, as days grow shorter, the eggs they lay are dormant and remain unhatched until spring arrives”.
Since the late 1970s, there has been rapid global spread of the Tiger mosquito, to the United States, Latin America, Europe and several African countries, probably mainly via the global trade in used tyres. Professor Reiter says that it is beyond doubt that this has nothing to do with temperature.
Professor Reiter has also lambasted fearmongering about the return of malaria, noting that this was once a major cause of death in many parts of England, even during the period that climatologists call the Little Ice Age:
“Shakespeare mentions malaria – “the ague” – thirteen times, so it was clearly once common here. The disease began to decline – for a multitude of reasons – in the mid-nineteenth century, despite the upward trend in global temperatures.”
Net Zero Watch director Andrew Montford said:
“This is not the first time we have seen the Civil Service misleading the public in this way. Science is being misused to generate fear and to “nudge” us in a desired direction. This kind of shameful disinformation brings the Civil Service into disrepute.”
Prof Paul Reiter