Climate change to increase the likelihood of vector-borne diseases incidence

As climate change advances, the South-eastern part of the United States, coastal areas of China and Japan, as well as inland regions of Australia will be increasingly at great risk from dengue. According to a study published in the journal Nature Microbiology, two billion additional people will be at risk by 2080 compared to 2015.

This number reflects not only population growth in areas already with a high incidence of the disease, but also the geographical expansion of mosquitoes that transmits dengue. Higher temperatures enable mosquitoes to survive in places where before they would not have been able to. For the modelling, researchers considered mosquitoes’ behaviour data, urbanization trends and a climate scenario under which the world is likely to exceed 20C warming by the end of this century compared with pre-industrial times.

The article highlights the need for urgent efforts to reduce and mitigate climate change, but the conclusions from the study also point to the need to develop innovative tools (like gene drive) to fight vector-borne diseases, such as dengue, Zika, and malaria, is clearly also important.

More information about the study can be found at The New York Times and at the journal Nature Microbiology.