By: Elizabeth Carlson
Summary: Global climate change can cause many different changes including temperature changes and also abnormal rainfall and humidity. These changes in the climate can create perfect conditions for diseases to thrive. Vector-borne diseases are especially subjected to the warming climate. In particular to Dengue Fever when temperature increases it also increases the percentage of mosquitos that will carry the Dengue virus inside them causing more people to come into contact with the virus. The rise in temperature will also allow for Dengue Fever and other vector-borne diseases to spread to areas that were previously free of disease. This is due to vector-borne diseases thriving in warm climates, when other climates are subjected to the rising temperatures it causes them to also be subjected to the diseases that can survive in the warmer climates. Not only does global climate change affect humans but also affects agriculture. Climate change can devastate crops and lead to a rise in plant diseases that perish many crops. Plasmopara viticola is a very devastating plant disease that affects grapevines predominantly in northern Italy. The disease is weather sensitive and thrives in wetness and without dry weather to kill off the disease it will ravish the crops. Global climate change has a major effect on viruses and diseases that can cause epidemics. Not only are these viruses and diseases affecting humans and animals they are also affecting plant life. These effects can have crippling effects on the survival of humans. Unless we want our Covid-19 lifestyle to be permanent we must address how global climate change is affecting existing and new epidemics.
Why we should care? We all have seen the global effects of Covid-19 over the course of the year. We should care about global climate change affecting new epidemics because this pandemic is just the first of many if we do not get global climate change under control.
I found this article interesting because not only is coronavirus wreaking havoc on the state of Florida, the state is also facing a Dengue Fever outbreak. As climate change continues and the earth warms it will subject climates that are being warmed to diseases that were not there before. This means the Dengue Fever outbreak in Florida will not just be contained to that state. This is interesting to me as a Michigander because this year we had a vector-borne disease outbreak. The Eastern Equine Encephalitis virus outbreak was such a threat Michigan counties had to spray an aerosol to kill the mosquitos carrying the virus and I wonder if climate change continues if this outbreak will become a regular worry.
Science in Action.
Jonathan Patz, M.D., MPH is director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Patz is part of a research team that created a vectorial model to display the effects of climate change on Dengue Fever. They did this by using disease transmission and Dengue specific parameters in conjunction with modeling changes in current climate conditions. Although the findings were pretty much undetermined the researchers believe that the influence of temperature change on vector-borne diseases should be considered. The researchers state that the increase in potential Dengue Fever risk due to global climate change is prevalent. Despite the results of the model, the researchers urge for policies that would reduce global climate change and also advancements in disease prevention. The researchers also advocate for more climate change and vector-borne disease risk analysis and assessments similar to their model. This research sheds some light onto how climate change is intertwined with epidemics and how more research is needed in this area.