Climate change is going to mean mosquito-borne diseases spread north out of the tropics right? That seems to be the story the news media are giving us. But it is really the case? Do we really need to start thinking about buying bednets to protect against mozzy bites?
As editor of Global Health database I was invited to the ISNTD Bites seminar in London, at the Natural History Museum where the issue was hotly debated. The session on climate change and disease vectors showed that while biology of disease vectors like mosquitoes and sandflies is affected by temperature there are several other factors that influence spread of disease vectors and the diseases they carry that may mean they don’t spread in the way straight climate maps predict. Among these are land use, urbanisation and global trade. In fact, the entomologists at the seminar were arguing that climate change issues are distracting researchers from looking more into factors that are having drastic effects on the spread of disease vectors and disease right now.