Climate change may limit spread of dengue fever

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Infection with dengue virus makes mosquitoes more sensitive to warmer temperatures, as does infection with the bacterium Wolbachia used to control mosquito-borne viral infections. The findings suggest that global warming could limit the spread of dengue but could also limit Wolbachia’s ability to act as a biological control.

Recent findings from Pennsylvania State University (PA, USA) have demonstrated the potential use of microbes in mitigating the distribution of vector-borne viral infections. The mosquito Aeges aegypti is the primary vector for disease-causing viruses such as dengue (DENV), Zika, chikungunya and yellow fever. Mosquitoes will be increasingly affected by the rising global mean temperatures and extreme climatic events, such as heat spikes, caused by climate change, which will impact their migration patterns and the geographic distribution of these viruses.

Ae. aegypti breeds in human-made containers inside or near housing in urbanized settlements. The geographic range of Ae. aegypti is widening due to increased urbanization and climate change so dramatically that by 2050 50% of the world’s population is predicted to live in association with Ae. aegypti.

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