Global Warming and Vector-borne Infectious Diseases
Mutsuo Kobayashi, Osamu Komagata, and Naoko Nihei
Department of Medical Entomology, National Institute of Infectious Diseases
Vector-borne diseases result from infections transmitted to humans by blood-feeding arthropods such as mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Such cold-blooded animals are influenced by environmental change. A recent IPCC report clearly showed that the emission of greenhouse gases has already changed world climates. Heat waves in Europe, rises in global mean sea level, summer droughts and wild fires, more intense precipitation, and increasing numbers of large cyclones and hurricanes may be typical example of extreme climate phenomena related to global warming. High temperatures may increase survival among arthropods, depending on their vector, behavior, ecology, and valuable factors, and temperate zone warming may accelerate the spread of mosquitoes such as Aedes albopictus. The MIROK (K1) Model clearly shows a northern limit for Ae. albopictus, particularly in northern Honshu in 2035 and southern and middle Hokkaido Island in 2100 in Japan. The spread of the mosquito vector through global used-tire trading in recent decades to Africa, the Mideast, Europe, and North and South America caused an outbreak of Chikungunya fever in north Italy in 2007. Global warming, extreme climate change, changing physical distribution, and an increase in oversea travel are also expected to influence the epidemiology of vector-borne infectious diseases.
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