Last updated August 15, 2018

Vector-Borne Disease Risk Increase

Climate change affects several factors that influence the reproduction, development, behavior, and population dynamics of insects, pathogens, and people. These include temperature, precipitation, and humidity. Insect vectors also have several physical traits that help them take advantage of climate impacts like flooding, increased precipitation, and warmer weather.

The effect of climate change on infectious disease remains hotly debated because many factors interact to influence transmission dynamics.

The dominant drivers of widespread pathogens, like West Nile virus, can be challenging to identify due to regional variability in vector and host ecology, with past studies producing disparate findings.

US trends

A February 2017 study examining 15 years of data on West Nile virus infections in people across the United States found that epidemics were larger during years of drought.[1] There were also bigger outbreaks in areas that had not experienced large epidemics of the mosquito-borne virus in the past.[1]