Global Warming may Expose the World to Deadly Mosquitoes by the End of the Century

According to a new study, at the end of the 21st century, many people would be prone to disease-carrying mosquitoes due to abrupt changes in temperature all over the world that is global warming.

As per the researchers, the news can be disastrous for the regions that even only slightly support the climate for the development of mosquitoes, on the grounds that the viruses they carry are prominent for dangerous flare-ups when they are provided with favorable conditions.

“Climate change is the largest and most comprehensive threat to global health security,” says lead author, global change biologist Colin J. Carlson, Ph.D., and a postdoctoral fellow in Georgetown University’s biology department. “Mosquitoes are only a part of the challenge, but after the Zika outbreak in Brazil in 2015, we’re especially worried about what comes next.”

The study led by Sadie J. Ryan of the University of Florida and Carlson is published in an online journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases (“Global expansion and redistribution of Aedes-borne virus transmission risk with climate change”). The research focuses on what would happen if the two deadly occurring mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus—starts spreading with an increase in temperature -global warming- at the end of the century.

As per the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are one of the deadliest arthropods in the world, carrying diseases that result in a number of deaths every year. Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus has the ability to carry dengue, chikungunya and Zika viruses, just as something like twelve other developing diseases that scientists state could be a danger in the next 50 years.

With this temperature boost that is global warming, researchers believe that almost all the regions will be affected sooner or later in the following 50 years. A stronger hold of infections over the people is also predicted.

“These diseases, which we think of as strictly tropical, have been showing up already in areas with suitable climates, such as Florida because humans are very good at moving both bugs and their pathogens around the globe,” explains Ryan, associate professor of medical geography at Florida.

“The risk of disease transmission is a serious problem, even over the next few decades,” Carlson says. “Places like Europe, North America, and high elevations in the tropics that used to be too cold for the viruses will face new diseases like dengue.”

Progressive serious climate change would deliver relatively more regrettable populace exposures for the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Yet, in areas with the most exceedingly terrible climate increment, including West African and Southeast Asia, a genuine decrease may be observed for the Aedes albopictus mosquito, mostly found in Southeast Asia and West Africa. This mosquito transmits dengue and Zika.

“Understanding the geographic shifts of risks really puts this in perspective,” Ryan says. “While we may see changing numbers and think we have the answer, imagine a world too hot for these mosquitoes.”

“This might sound like good news, bad news scenario but it is all bad news if we end up in the worst timeline for climate change,” Carlson says. “Any scenario where a region gets too warm to transmit dengue is one where we also have different but equally severe threats in other health sectors.”

Researchers keenly observed temperatures every month to study the risk till the end of 2050 and 2080. The paper did not show which kind of mosquito would make a migration, yet rather explained the climates where the spread of these won’t be prevented.

Carlson further clarifies it by saying: “Based on what we know about mosquito movement from region to region, 50 years is a considerable long time and we expect a significant spread of both types of insects, particularly Aedes aegypti, which thrive in urban environments.”

“This is only one study to begin understanding the fast-approaching challenges we face with global warming,” Carlson says. “We have a Herculean task ahead. We need to figure out pathogen by pathogen, region by region when problems will emerge so that we can plan a global health response.”

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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