March 28, 2019
LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Up to a billion additional people – including many in North America and Europe – could be exposed to mosquito-carried viruses including dengue fever and Zika virus by 2080 if the climate continues to warm at current rates, researchers said Thursday.
Preventing that expansion of potentially fatal diseases will require not just vigilance by health officials but quick action to curb climate change and limit warming, they said.
Expansion of mosquito-carried viruses can “cause a loss of productivity at work, things like that. Essentially, they will lead to economic decline in areas where they take off,” said Sadie Ryan, a lead author of the study, published Thursday in the journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
The analysis tracked the expected movement of two of the most common disease-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, by looking at predicted future temperatures to estimate risks up to 2050 and up to 2080.
The moquitoes can carry viruses including dengue, chikungunya and Zika, which can in some cases be fatal or cause other debilitating impacts.