By: Jessica Sabatini
Summary: According to Stanford, researchers predict that rising temperatures and increased urbanization will increase rates of diseases caused and spread by mosquitoes. Mosquitoes are the deadliest animals killing over 1,000,000 people per year. The two most common mosquitoes that transmit diseases are Aedes aegypti and Aedes alcopictus. These creatures can carry many different diseases to spread, malaria being the most widespread at this time. However, researchers believe that as greenhouse gases create warmer temperatures, mosquitoes will thrive and spread to places unseen. Mosquitoes are attracted to warm, wet, and humid places; and when humans live in places like these, they tend to keep their windows open. This increases their risk for bites and possibly infections. It is said that as atmospheric CO2 rise with the temperatures, mosquito evolution will rapidly increase. According to Dr. Chufei Tang, the evolution of mosquitoes may cause eradicated diseases to come back and spread even further. We have seen the increasing temperatures affect other insects that carry disease; Lyme disease, carried by ticks, had an increased spread as temperatures increased. These researchers also mention that malaria will not be the disease we need to worry about, in fact, malaria rates are said to possibly decrease in some areas! Dengue fever seems to be a recurring concern in all of these articles. More than 3 billion people are at risk for dengue (based on location). Dengue fever has very similar symptoms to those of the Zika virus; this includes fever, rash, severe muscle aches, eye pain, and nausea. Right now, there are only about 100 to 200 cases of dengue fever in the United States, and it usually only affects those who traveled internationally. This number is said to possibly increase within this century, as temperature and CO2 levels increase.
Why we should care? Malaria thrives at around 78°F and dengue thrives at around 84°F. Most US states get to those temperatures in the spring and summertime. We can all be affected by this disease eventually.
I like that the U.S. News article covers each point of this topic. I did a lot of research with many different articles and research papers and this article summarizes these pretty well. I like how the author pointed out that mosquitoes are the deadliest animals, how they used stats to support this, and how they explained the risk as temperatures increase. Also, they showed something that I didn't point out in my summary, that if temperatures get too high then the mosquitoes will ultimately suffer. Not to mention, this article also gives hyperlinks to background information on this topic, so if you are more interested you can research this even further than it has been summarized.
Science in Action.
Dr. Chufei Tang is at China Agricultural University.
Dr. Chufei Tang was mentioned in one of the articles I read on this subject. As I found his research profile, I had access to all of his publications. Dr. Chufei Tang has about 53 publications and a lot of them cover mosquitoes in some way. He does have a particular study or two that directly relates mosquitoes to climate change. This article is titled, "Elevated atmospheric CO2 promoted speciation in mosquitoes". This means that this article specifically covers climate change n relation to mosquito evolution and mutations. I covered a little bit about this in my summary, but he mentions that it is possible that as CO2 levels increase, mosquito evolution will thrive, and this could bring back some eradicated diseases.