Climate crisis fuels mosquito disease spread in Europe, expert argues

Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and dengue fever are increasing in Europe due to global warming, according to an expert.

Helena Horton reports for The Guardian.


In short:

  • Prof. Rachel Lowe emphasizes the need for preparedness as warmer climates allow mosquitoes to inhabit new regions, potentially introducing diseases to immunologically naive populations.
  • Dengue fever is spreading rapidly; the Asian tiger mosquito is now found in 13 European countries.
  • Climate-related droughts and floods enhance virus transmission through increased mosquito breeding sites.
  • If current warming trend continues, the number of people living in place where these vectors thrive is expected to double to 4.7 by 2100.

Key quote:

"Global warming due to climate change means that the disease vectors that carry and spread malaria and dengue [fever] can find a home in more regions, with outbreaks occurring in areas where people are likely to be immunologically naive and public health systems unprepared."

— Rachel Lowe, head of the global health resilience group at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center.

Why this matters:

As global temperatures rise, the habitats suitable for mosquitoes are expanding. This expansion means that more people are at risk of dengue fever as these mosquitoes bring the disease to new areas.

Be sure to read EHN’s piece: Pollution, climate change and the global burden of disease.

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