Global warming carries a host of threats for the whole world, but one potentially devastating repercussion of climate change comes in the smallest of forms: mosquitoes. According to a recent study, approximately one billion people, mostly in Europe, could face the threat of mosquito-borne disease for the first time in history by the year 2080. The study primarily looked at the potential dangers carried by just two of the planet's 3,500 mosquito species that currently dwell in warmer parts of the globe. As the planet warms, these dangerous little insects could increase their range into new regions, bringing with them dangerous illnesses like Zika, dengue fever, and yellow fever. The authors of the study pointed out that these frightening conclusions are based on a scenario in which little is done to combat climate change. The study also considered three other scenarios in which some efforts to limit climate change had been put into effect. However, the researchers warned that even in a best-case scenario, current warming trends indicate that developing areas in the tropics would be harder hit by mosquito-borne illnesses than wealthier nations in the middle latitudes.
The buzz about mosquitoes:
- Only female mosquitoes bite humans; males survive on nutrients they get from plants.
- Mosquitoes are the deadliest insects on Earth, killing more than one million people a year via the transmission of malaria alone.
- Mosquitoes need water in which to lay their eggs, such as standing rainwater or even pools of melted snow.