News Stories

Global Warming Makes Us Sick

Most of this has to do with MOSQUITOES! - Global warming raises concerns about the potential spread of infectious diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever. These diseases are currently rare in the West. A team of researchers has demonstrated a way to predict the expanding range of human disease vectors in a changing world.

In Australia, climate changes during the next 40 years and the mosquito's ability to adapt to new conditions may allow the these insects to expand into several populated regions of the continent, increasing the risk of malaria and dengue fever. Zoologist Warren Porter says that the Australian findings are likely to apply to other worldwide mosquito populations as well.

Porter says, "Where would a species with a particular set of properties best survive and function on our planet? By answering this question, we are able not only to calculate what the current distributions are, but even identify places where they might flourish where they don't currently exist."

Researchers are concerned about changes in human water-storage practices that are being driven by reduced rainfall in some cities. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, and much of the dengue mosquito's favored breeding habitat is inadvertently provided by humans in the form of rainwater tanks and other open water containers. Simple changes such as reducing or covering such tanks could counteract some of the climate change-driven mosquito expansion.

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

As the weather warms, insects change and we'll have to change as well! But in order to change, we need to understand what's going on.

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