September 21, 2017
DAKAR, Sept 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – From deadly droughts and destroyed crops to shrinking water sources, communities across sub-Saharan Africa are struggling to withstand the onslaught of global record-breaking temperatures.
But the dangers do not end there. Rising heat poses another threat – one that is far less known and studied but could spark disease epidemics across the continent, scientists say.
Mosquitoes are the menace, and the risk goes beyond malaria.
The Aedes aegypti mosquito, which spreads debilitating and potentially deadly viruses, from Zika and dengue to chikungunya, thrives in warmer climates than its malaria-carrying cousin, known as Anopheles, say researchers at Stanford University.
In sub-Saharan Africa, this means malaria rates could rise in cooler areas as they heat up, but fall in hotter places that now battle the disease. In those areas, malaria – one of the continent’s biggest killers – may be rivalled by other vector-borne diseases as major health crises.