Climate Change is Increasing Mosquito Habitat Ranges
Every year, mosquito-borne diseases affect nearly 700 million people worldwide, killing more than a million. Though, admittedly, this number may be significantly higher as there are uncertainties in the accounting. Mosquito-borne illnesses are most prevalent in central Africa, India, and South and Central America along with much of Asia. As mosquitoes typically thrive in areas that are warm and humid, with high rainfall, the tropical and sub-tropical regions of these continents make perfect breeding grounds.
Mosquitoes serve as vectors for disease transmission, meaning they can carry all sorts of things that cause disease and illness (e.g. bacteria, protozoa, virus, parasites, etc.), transmit those to someone or something by biting them, and the whole time, not be affected themselves. While in most of the US and Europe these bites may be mild annoyances, accompanied by itching and complaining, in other areas mosquito-borne illnesses represent serious public health threats. Many deadly and debilitating diseases, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Malaria are carried by mosquitoes. The bad news? Well, if you haven’t heard already, things are getting warmer, and the mosquitoes love it.
Two articles from the PLOS Ecological Impacts of Climate Change Collection directly address how climate change is altering the habitats and spread of mosquito populations, and it doesn’t look good.