By 2050، half the world's population could be at risk of mosquito-borne diseases like dengue fever or the Zika virus، new research suggests.
Climate change may put even more people at risk further into the future.
A combination of environmental change، urbanization and human movements around the world are helping mosquitoes spread into new areas، according to the findings، reported Monday in the journal Nature Microbiology. "We find evidence that if no action is taken to reduce the current rate at which the climate is warming، pockets of habitat will open up across many urban areas with vast amounts of individuals susceptible to infection،" said lead study author Moritz Kraemer، with the Boston Children's Hospital and University of Oxford، in a statement. The research focuses on the mosquito species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus، both known for their ability to carry and transmit disease. These maps show the predicted global ranges of Aedes aegypti (above) and Aedes albopictus (below) in 2050 assuming a "medium" climate scenario in which greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2080 and then begin to decline. The darker areas have the highest predicted prevalence of mosquitoes. Credit: Moritz Kraemer for Nature Microbiology The new study analyzed mosquito tracking data from the United States and Europe، incorporating a variety of factors into a model to predict the species' spread over the coming decades. The researchers ran the simulations under three different potential climate scenarios، assuming moderate، high and severe levels of future climate change.