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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 14 April 2021

Another reason to fear climate change: Disease carrying mosquitoes

The insects could thrive in the UK with a small increase in temperature.

Image: Youtube/TheGatesNotes

DISEASE CARRYING MOSQUITOES could become much more common in this part of the world because of climate change.

Diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, like malaria and the West Nile virus, have already spread into parts of Greece and eastern Europe.

Now, Public Health England is warning that the carriers could become widespread across Britain over the next few decades if temperatures continue to rise.

Research published in The Lancet Journal shows that even a slight increase in temperature could bring the deadly insects.

For example, dengue fever transmission was only confined to tropical and subtropical regions but a temperature rise of just 2°C could make parts of Wales and England suitable for the Asian tiger mosquito.

The Asian tiger mosquito spreads dengue fever and chikungunya. Viral disease chikungunya is common in Italy and France.

The UK climate is already suitable for the transmission of West Nile virus which can be spread by several mosquitoes already found in the UK.

However, a low number of mosquitoes and the limited spread of human-biting have prevented any human cases so far.

PastedImage-22473 Distribution of the Asian tiger mosquito in Europe, October, 2014 Source: The Lancet

“Although no non-native invasive mosquitoes have been detected in the UK so far, a better system to monitor imported used tyres, in which disease-carrying mosquitoes lay their eggs, needs planning,” according to Dr Jolyon Medlock of Public Health England.

In the future, rising temperatures could make conditions more favourable for mosquitoes, say the authors.

“We are not suggesting that climate change is the only or the main factor driving the increase in vector-borne diseases in the UK and Europe, but that it is one of many factors,” adds Medlock.

Read: The deadliest creature on the planet? It’s not even close >

Read: Scientists found a fossilised mosquito full of blood, so can we finally clone dinosaurs? >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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