MED-Zika Mosquito-5 Things

A UF professor’s research shows that climate change will expose areas to disease carrying mosquitoes in the future.

On March 28, a study titled “Global expansion and redistribution of Aedes-borne virus transmission risk with climate change” was published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a peer-reviewed open-access scientific journal. It projected future distribution of mosquito borne disease transmission with climate change models, said Sadie Ryan, the lead author of the study and a UF medical geography associate professor.

Projections show that mosquitoes will start moving to Europe, sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America by 2050, she said. Europe doesn’t currently face as many mosquito-borne diseases because of its less temperate climate.

“When you start to see new people and novel emergence of diseases is when you start to see more explosive outbreaks,” Ryan said.

“That’s where we start to have real worries in terms of global public health.” The research and a portion of her salary are funded by a $2.5 million National Science Foundation grant and a $10 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center

of Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases at UF, she said. The two-year long research looked at how temperature changes could affect transmission of diseases such as dengue and yellow fever, Ryan said.

Cat Lippi, a 34-year-old UF medical geography doctoral student who researches at the lab Ryan directs, said the study alerts people to medical issues that change with the climate.

“If we can identify what those patterns are, then we can start to work with policy makers to come up with strategies to break those disease transmission cycles,” Lippi said.