Climate change: Global warming could trigger wave of fatal diseases – ‘Need to be ready'


The researchers warned a “public health disaster” may take place if the continent is unable to tackle mosquito-borne diseases other than malaria.

Different varieties of mosquito thrive at various temperature ranges, with insects such as Aedes aegypti and yellow fever mosquito responsible for transmitting fatal diseases.

The Anopheles gambiae mosquito has long been known to spread malaria, while Aedes aegypti can transmit various viruses, such as the dengue virus.

Professor Erin Mordecai, a Stanford biologist and study lead author, said: “Climate change is going to rearrange the landscape of infectious disease.

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Malaria-transmitting mosquitoes have long been known to breed in pools of stagnant water usually associated with rural areas.

Aedes aegypti, in contrast, are more attracted to urban areas which form “heat islands” significantly warmer than surrounding green areas.

The study confirmed the trend toward mosquitoes carrying diseases other than malaria is likely to accelerate due to increasing man-made global warming.

The scientists suggest climate change could increase the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in relatively cool places, such as more mountainous regions.

However, some places will see more of both types of insects, the researchers have warned.

For both malaria and dengue, areas around Lake Victoria, in particular, will become high-risk by 2050.

Desiree LaBeaud, the study senior author, said: “It’s vital to focus on controlling mosquitoes that spread diseases like dengue because there are no medical treatments for these diseases.

“On top of that, a shift from malaria to dengue may overwhelm health systems because diseases introduced to new populations often lead to large outbreaks.”

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