The researchers warned a “public health disaster” may take place if the continent is unable to tackle mosquito-borne diseases other than malaria.
Climate change is going to rearrange the landscape of infectious disease
Different varieties of mosquito thrive at various temperature ranges, with insects such as Aedes aegypti and yellow fever mosquito responsible for transmitting fatal diseases.
The Anopheles gambiae mosquito has long been known to spread malaria, while Aedes aegypti can transmit various viruses, such as the dengue virus.
Professor Erin Mordecai, a Stanford biologist and study lead author, said: “Climate change is going to rearrange the landscape of infectious disease.
Climate change: Deadly diseases will around Africa and beyond due to global warming
“Chikungunya and dengue outbreaks like we’ve recently seen in East Africa are only becoming more likely across much of the continent.
“We need to be ready for this emerging threat.”
Malaria is a disease affecting more than 200 million people in that area of the African continent.
A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report revealed there were 228 million cases of malaria in 2018, compared to 231 million cases in 2017.
Climate change: The researchers warned a “public health disaster” may take place
The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 405,000 in 2018, down from 416,000 deaths the previous year.
Malaria is most likely to spread at a ‘turn-over point’ of 25C (78F), while the risk of dengue is highest at approximately 29C (84F).
As a result, a world that is warming will result in increased cases of dengue, responsible for rashes, crippling headaches and agonising eye pain.
Attempts to drive-down the number of fatalities related to malaria include insecticide-treated bed nets and indoor spraying.
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Malaria-transmitting mosquitoes have long been known to breed in pools of stagnant water usually associated with rural areas.
Aedes aegypti, in contrast, are more attracted to urban areas which form “heat islands” significantly warmer than surrounding green areas.
The study confirmed the trend toward mosquitoes carrying diseases other than malaria is likely to accelerate due to increasing man-made global warming.
The scientists suggest climate change could increase the number of malaria-carrying mosquitoes in relatively cool places, such as more mountainous regions.
Climate change: Different varieties of mosquito thrive at various temperature ranges
Climate change: A study suggests global warming could trigger wave of fatal diseases
However, some places will see more of both types of insects, the researchers have warned.
For both malaria and dengue, areas around Lake Victoria, in particular, will become high-risk by 2050.
Desiree LaBeaud, the study senior author, said: “It’s vital to focus on controlling mosquitoes that spread diseases like dengue because there are no medical treatments for these diseases.
“On top of that, a shift from malaria to dengue may overwhelm health systems because diseases introduced to new populations often lead to large outbreaks.”