Photo by shelleygibb

Black leggings may be de rigueur for the fashion set, but their wearers also run the risk of attracting dengue-transmitting mosquitoes, warn health authorities in Thailand. “It’s worrying how people dress nowadays, especially the youth,” gripes Deputy Health Minister Pansiri Kulanartsiri to The Telegraph. Mosquitoes, he notes, are drawn to dark clothing, and with the country’s June through September rainy season in full swing, Pansiri recommends swapping the opaque tights for thick, light-colored garments—say, pale-wash jeans. (Wearing leggings when pants are in order, Ecouterre must add, is a fashion don’t no matter the season.)

mosquitoes, dengue fever

Photo by tataquax


The Thai government’s sartorial directive isn’t a case of unchecked paranoia. The Southeast Asian nation has racked up 45,000 cases of dengue in the first seven months of the year—a 40 percent jump from the 31,929 cases recorded in the same period last year. Fatalities from the mosquito-borne disease have also increased: 43 deaths so far compared to 30 during the same time frame last year. Considering that of this year’s deaths, 26 were between the ages of 10 and 24, the link between the fashion favorite and the risk of contracting dengue may not be so tenuous after all.

Endemic to the region, dengue is a chronic problem during rainy spells, particularly during the monsoons.

Endemic to the region, dengue is a chronic problem during rainy spells, particularly during the monsoons, when standing water and poor sanitary conditions provide welcome breeding grounds for the disease-bearing Aedes mosquito. No vaccine exists for the disease, which disproportionately affects children and the elderly.

Resulting in high fevers, rashes, headaches, joint pain, and sometimes internal bleeding, dengue is a pernicious threat because mosquitoes can lay up to 400 larvae at a time in vases, flower pots, and poorly drained streets. “This is an epidemic year for dengue fever,” Pansiri says. “But what is more worrying is that people are aloof when it comes to prevention.”

The jury is still out on where the jegging stands in all this.

[Via The Telegraph]