Mosquitoes Heading For Warmer UK

Mosquitoes Heading For Warmer UK

Rising temperatures will make the damp British climate perfect for the disease-carrying insects, according to scientists.

mosquito 1Mosquitoes carrying potentially deadly diseases, such as dengue fever and West Nile virus, could become widespread across the UK in the next few decades, experts have said.

Writing in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal, scientists claim warmer temperatures and more rainfall – both outcomes of climate change – could provide ideal conditions in the UK for the unwelcome visitors, particularly southern England.

The UK climate is already said to be suitable for mosquitoes carrying West Nile Virus, an infection that causes a flu-like illness which on rare occasions can prove fatal.

No human cases have come to light so far, but recently a species of Culex mosquito known to be the main carrier of West Nile Virus in Europe was discovered in Kent.

A bigger threat is the Asian tiger mosquito which spreads dengue fever and chikungunya. Both cause serious illnesses, which especially in the case of dengue fever can be fatal.

The climate change simulations predict suitable temperatures for one month per year of chikungunya virus transmission in London by 2041, and up to three months in southeast England by 2071.

Co-author Dr Jolyon Medlock, also from Public Health England, said: “Given the on-going spread of invasive mosquitoes across Europe, with accompanying outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya virus, Public Health England has been conducting surveillance at seaports, airports, and some motorway service stations.

“Although no non-native invasive mosquitoes have been detected in the UK so far, a better system to monitor imported used tyres, in which disease-carrying mosquitoes lay their eggs, needs planning.”

Despite the risk from malaria being considered low, some climate models predicted the possibility of localised infections in the UK as early as 2030.
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