Feb 20, 2016

In Zika epidemic, a warning on climate change

Brazil
by
Justin Gillis
,
New York Times
Smoke from a brush fire in a deforested part of Brazil’s Amazon basin. The Zika virus, which is an epidemic in Brazil, is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes. Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images
Smoke from a brush fire in a deforested part of Brazil’s Amazon basin. The Zika virus, which is an epidemic in Brazil, is transmitted mainly by mosquitoes. Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images

Over the coming decades, global warming is likely to increase the range and speed of the life cycle of the particular mosquitoes carrying these viruses, encouraging their spread deeper into temperate countries like the United States.
Recent research suggests that under a worst-case scenario, involving continued high global emissions coupled with fast population growth, the number of people exposed to the principal mosquito could more than double, to as many as 8 billion or 9 billion by late this century from roughly 4 billion today.