Navigation Links
Researchers examine role of climate change in disease spread
Date:2/5/2009

GALVESTON, Texas Ever since scientists first proposed that our planet might be experiencing widespread climate change, concerns have been raised about its implications for the spread of arboviruses viruses carried by arthropods such as mosquitoes, midges and ticks. However, while alterations in temperature and rainfall are important factors in making new territory hospitable to an invading arbovirus, many other forces also play significant parts in new patterns of viral emergence.

That's the message of a paper in the February "Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene" by University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston pathology professor Stephen Higgs and Oxford University professor Ernest A. Gould. In the article, Higgs and Gould examine the relative importance of climate change in the spread of four viruses that have captured headlines in the past 10 years: West Nile virus, Chikungunya virus, Rift Valley fever virus and Bluetongue virus.

"There's no doubt that during the past 50 years or so, patterns of emerging arbovirus diseases have changed significantly," Higgs said. "We picked prominent examples and asked how much is climate change a factor in these emergences?"

Since the viruses in question are carried either by mosquitoes (West Nile, Chikungunya, Rift Valley fever) or midges (Bluetongue), creatures whose activity and population increase in warm, moist environments, one would suspect that a transition to a warmer, wetter climate could have opened the door for their spread to a new region. According to Higgs, though, it's not that simple. "You can't disassociate arbovirus diseases from the climate," Higgs said, "but many other factors affected the spread of these arboviruses."

Those factors include genetic mutation, the introduction of new species of mosquitoes, the presence of an immunologically vulnerable human population and ease of transportation of infected humans (Chikungunya virus); cyclic periods of high rainfall, modern irrigation projects, and livestock trade between Africa and southern Arabia (Rift Valley fever virus); and modern air transport, the availability of compatible mosquito species and large numbers of virus-spreading migratory birds (West Nile virus).

Of the four viruses under review, Higgs said, climate change could probably only be given the lion's share of the credit for the spread of Bluetongue virus. The midge-borne virus can cause fatal disease in sheep, goats and cattle and until about 10 years ago was limited to Africa. Then a warmer climate in Europe made it possible for the cold-sensitive Culex imicola midge species responsible for carrying the virus to move north. Today, borne by other midge species, Bluetongue has spread to 12 European countries.

"There are some confounding factors here, in that infected but asymptomatic livestock are being moved around, and midges can be spread great distances quickly by the wind," Higgs said. "But it seems clear that Bluetongue's dispersal has been driven by the northward expansion of Culex imicola, and that climate change may have contributed to that. If average temperatures increase in certain regions of the world as predicted by some experts, then species of arthropod vectors may disperse beyond their current geographic boundaries, and we need to be ready for the possibility that similar outbreaks could occur."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jim Kelly
jpkelly@utmb.edu
409-772-8791
University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Mayo Clinic researchers suspect a novel gene is causing restless legs syndrome in a large family
2. Researchers disprove 15-year-old theory about the nervous system
3. Caltech researchers help unlock the secrets of gene regulatory networks
4. Researchers find pathway and enzyme unique to tularemia organism
5. TGen and ASU researchers find drug that could reduce risk of Alzheimers
6. LSUSHC researchers find potential new target for hypertension treatment
7. UT Southwestern researchers disrupt biochemical system involved in cancer, degenerative disease
8. What we don’t know still hurts us, environmental researchers warn
9. Researchers unzip molecules to measure interactions keeping DNA packed in cells
10. Researchers may have found why women have an edge on salt-sensitive hypertension
11. Researchers identify new function of protein in cellular respiration
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/13/2017)... According to a new market research report "Consumer IAM Market by ... Service, Authentication Type, Deployment Mode, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to ... USD 14.30 Billion in 2017 to USD 31.75 Billion by 2022, at ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 11, 2017 ... "Company"), a security technology company, announces the appointment of independent ... John Bendheim to its Board of Directors, furthering the ... ... behalf of NXT-ID, we look forward to their guidance and ...
(Date:4/5/2017)... 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS The ... at a CAGR of 25.76% during the forecast period ... primary factor for the growth of the stem cell ... MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem cell market ... and geography. The stem cell market of the product ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... The ... 10 categories with over 30 nominees and well as the first-year award for ... award and the event was hosted by CompanyWeek and Manufacturers Edge, among other ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... , ... Frederick Innovative Technology Center, Inc. (FITCI), a business ... start-ups, is hosting “Celebration Friday” (a festive gathering highlighting client success stories) and ... networking at 3:30 p.m. at FITCI’s 4539 Metropolitan Court location, off English Muffin ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... ... April 20, 2017 , ... USDM Life Sciences , ... sciences and healthcare industries, is pleased to announce Holger Braemer as Vice ... “USDM Europe GmbH” based in Germany. , Braemer is an integral part of ...
(Date:4/20/2017)... San Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... April 20, 2017 , ... ... and management of clinical trials worldwide, announced today that they were named one of ... magazine , which covers the latest developments in the pharmaceutical industry. , “We take ...
Breaking Biology Technology: