A study published in Biology Letters, a peer-reviewed journal, finds that mosquitos are spreading to new areas and bringing a deadly disease called malaria due to warming temperatures caused by climate change. A team of researchers led out of Georgetown University observed that the movement of mosquitos is aligned with warming temperatures caused by climate change and explains malaria transmission patterns during the study period.
Previous studies show that climate change will significantly change the spread of the world’s species, including dangerous pathogens and disease carriers like mosquitoes.
Researchers find that mosquitoes are spreading out to new locations in Africa. Malaria is one of the world’s most deadly diseases. The World Health Organization says that the disease killed 627,000 in 2020.
The study, “Rapid range shifts in African Anopheles mosquitoes over the last century,” adds to a growing body of research that confirms climate change’s influence mosquito population is much greater than previously thought.
Temperature is a well-known factor in amplifying the mosquito population and increasing malaria transmission.
The study observes the location of 22 species of mosquitos using data that goes back to 1898 up to 2016. Researchers find that mosquitoes spread yearly at an average of 4.7 kilometres south and climb at an average elevation of 6.5 metres yearly. This trend is consistent with the climate change observed in the region.
The study concludes, “In the coming years, these sorts of direct links between climate, biodiversity change, and disease emergence will be increasingly important to quantify in real-time, not just to document a changing world but also to identify and address healthcare needs in newly vulnerable populations.”
Climate Change Is Spreading Malaria Risk to New Parts of Africa. (2023 February 15). Bloomberg. Retrieved from https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2023-02-15/climate-change-is-spreading-malaria-to-new-regions-study-shows
Carlson, C. J., Bannon, E., Mendenhall, E., Newfield, T., & Bansal, S. (2023). Rapid range shifts in African Anopheles mosquitoes over the last century. Biology Letters, 19(2), 20220365.