Dr. Clare Strode, carrying a mesh cage of Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, reveals their attraction to humans, essential for studying dengue virus transmission. Lab-resident mosquitoes in the cage show hunger. Dr. Strode investigates how dengue spreads globally, influenced by climate change. As experts convene for COP28 in Dubai, the impact of global warming on health takes center stage. For the first time, “health day” is recognized at COP, emphasizing its urgency.
Dengue, once tropical, has reached Europe due to climate-induced mosquito adaptability. Warmer, wetter conditions facilitate disease-spreading mosquitoes’ thriving. Scientists, combining insect surveillance and climate forecasts, develop tools to predict disease outbreaks, potentially saving lives. The Wellcome Trust-funded project in 12 countries analyzes satellite images, drone data, and weather sensors, enhancing understanding of climate impact on insect-borne diseases.
Early warning systems aim to help communities prepare against outbreaks. Project Harmonize, tested in countries like Brazil and the Dominican Republic, uses predictive models to prevent diseases, optimizing resource allocation. In the UK, mosquito traps at strategic points monitor dengue-carrying mosquitoes’ potential entry.
DNA barcoding helps identify mosquito species in surveillance. Experts stress the need to curb emissions, making health central to climate negotiations for effective prevention. Dengue cases reported to WHO surged from 500,000 in 2000 to 4.5 million in 2023, indicating the disease’s increasing global prevalence.
Repurposed article originally published in BBC