With Climate Change, Malaria and Dengue Will Thrive

Anopheles Gambiae, a malaria vector, captured in a colored scanning electron micrograph. Image: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
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Anopheles Gambiae, a malaria vector, captured in a colored scanning electron micrograph. Image: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Climate change will extend the threat of mosquito-borne diseases malaria and dengue to a total of 8.4 billion people by 2080—unless significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are made, according to a new Lancet Planetary Health study by London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine researchers and colleagues.

Takeaways: 

  • The 8 billion figure includes an additional 4.7 billion people who could be put at risk beyond the 1970–1999 numbers, The Guardian reports.
  • Transmission seasons could expand by more than 1 month for malaria and 4 months for dengue over the next 50 years, assuming emission levels increase at current rates.
  • Areas that are currently disease-free and have weak health systems need to be prepared, said lead author Felipe J. Colón-González.
  • Reductions in emissions could significantly reduce the number of people at risk and limit transmission seasons.
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