In Africa, the sudden transition from dry to wet conditions is associated with outbreaks of Ebola. With climate change, such abrupt shifts are likely to happen more often.
Impact of climate change on Ebola outbreaks
Changing climate conditions can affect both humans and animals, including fruit bats. Bats, known to be disease carriers, can become more plentiful due to increased rainfall. This can lead to increased contact with other animals, including humans.
Climate change increases the risk of a new Ebola outbreak, resulting in the disease spreading across a wider geographic area. Researchers looked at possible scenarios and determined that the Ebola virus could become more common in Africa if global temperatures rise. In the future, researchers predict that a single outbreak of the disease could occur every ten years, a much higher frequency than today. As a result, the attack could spread to areas not currently considered at risk.
Impact of climate change on mosquito-borne diseases
A new study estimates the risks of mosquito-borne diseases from future climate change based on the projected shift of global temperatures. The researchers believe that as average temperatures increase by 5o Celsius, one billion more people could contract mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria. The study also notes that the distribution of malaria will shift upward in warmer years. While the exact impact of climate change on human health is unknown, it is possible to increase our knowledge of how climate change will affect mosquito-borne diseases.
The impact of climate change on mosquito-borne diseases is especially alarming. The study found that by 2080, half a billion more people may contract mosquito-borne diseases. The tiger and yellow fever mosquito continue to expand in range, but the overall disease risk from mosquito-borne diseases will decrease in hotter regions. In contrast, the risk of catching the Asian tiger mosquito increases in Europe while it falls in countries with high temperature-affected areas.
The temperature was the most frequently examined climatic variable. In selected studies, scientists reported that extreme temperatures are likely to increase. Already, 1o Celsius has been recorded in some regions of Eastern Africa. However, these changes may not be directly related to the mosquitoes themselves, but their parasites are highly responsive to temperature. For example, in the United States, unusual El Niño-related precipitation has led to a 20-fold increase in rodent populations.
Impact of climate change on disease emergence
A third of new pathogens have been associated with changes in human land use. Warming temperatures can also lead to an expansion of geographic areas susceptible to contagion, which may be detrimental to health.
Moreover, diseases transmitted by mosquitoes are more vulnerable to climate change than other types. By 2050, a single climate change event will affect more than 50 million people. In the U.S. alone, a single outbreak of the West Nile virus in 1999 coincided with the country’s severe drought. As a result, stagnant water in rivers and streams encouraged mosquitoes to breed. In addition, the absence of water also killed their natural predators, like dragonflies and frogs.
Regardless of how human health is affected, the underlying climate conditions will continue to affect disease emergence and movement.