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Future of Mosquito-Borne Disease Will be Surprising

Dengue fever most likely will become a disease the United States must learn to live with as climate change creates opportunities for the disease to gain a foothold.

But after careful study of the disease’s characteristics, the mosquitoes that carry it and future climate change, researchers say the impact on areas likely to experience dengue won’t necessarily play out along the lines of conventional wisdom: Southern outbreaks will decrease in size overall and become more common in the spring and fall while Northern areas could experience larger outbreaks throughout the summer.

For instance, outbreaks in Chicago during the summer season could be larger than outbreaks in Atlanta and Lubbock, Texas during the spring and fall. Researcher Richard Erickson says, "Dengue has been described as the most important vector-borne disease in the world because there are up to 100 million infections annually worldwide and up to 40% of the world’s population is threatened by the disease. Climate change is expected to increase the range of the disease and number of people at risk. Dengue is a disease that occurs in the developing world, but in recent years there have been outbreaks in the developed world and locally acquired cases in non-tropical regions, such as France, Croatia and Texas."

Whitley Strieber comes from Texas but In 1998, but he had never heard of climate change until the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all about it, which led to his bestselling book "Superstorm."



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