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Global warming can issue a billion people to dengue, Zika by 2080: Study



WASHINGTON: Global warming can expose as many as one billion people to mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue and Zika in 2080, according to a study that examined temperature changes monthly across the globe.

The news is bad even in areas with only a small risk of having a climate suitable for mosquitoes, because the virus carriers are notorious for explosive outbreaks when they reach the right place under the right conditions, according to the study published in The journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

"Climate change is the biggest and most comprehensive threat to global health security," said Colin J Carlson, a postdoctoral fellow at Georgetown University in the United States.

"Mosquitoes are only part of the challenge, but after the Zika outbreak in Brazil in 201

5, we are particularly concerned about what will come next," Carlson said.

The team, led by Sadie J Ryan of the University of Florida and Carlson, studied what would happen if the two most common disease-bearing mosquitoes – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus – track and move when the temperature changes over decades .

According to the World Health Organization, mosquitoes are one of the world's deadly animals carrying diseases that cause millions of deaths each year.

Both Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus can carry dengue, chikunguyna and zika viruses and at least a dozen other emerging diseases that researchers say could be a threat in the next 50 years.

With global warming, researchers say that almost the entire world population could be postponed at some point in the next 50 years.

As the temperature rises, they expect year-round transmissions in the tropics and seasonal risks almost everywhere. A greater intensity of infections is also anticipated.

"These diseases, which we think are strictly tropical, have already appeared in areas with suitable climates, such as Florida, because humans are very good at moving both bugs and their pathogens across the globe," Ryan says.

More severe climate change would result in relatively worse population exposures to Aedes aegypti mosquito.

However, in areas with the worst climate increase, including West Africa and Southeast Asia, severe reductions are expected for Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, most notably in Southeast Asia and West Africa. This mosquito carries dengue, chikunguyna and zika.

"Understanding the geographical shifts of risks really puts this into perspective." While we may see changing numbers and believe we have the answer, imagine a world too hot for these mosquitoes, "Ryan said.

The researchers looked at temperatures month by month to project risk through 2050 and 2080. The model did not predict the type of mosquitoes migrating, but accounted for a climate where their spread would not be prevented.

"Based on what we know about mosquito movement from region to region, 50 years is a very long time, and we expect a significant spread of both types of insects, especially Aedes aegypti, who thrive in urban environments," Carlson said.


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