Some of never seen before tropical diseases in the United States have been marching northward as mosquitoes and ticks have been expanding their ranges due to climate change. However, scientists said that this doesn’t mean that epidemics will break out.
Whether some cases will result into a full-fledged outbreak relies on a number of factors far more complex as compared to weather.
It seems like the list of scary bug-borne illnesses has been becoming longer and longer every year with Chagas, dengue, Lyme, West Nile, chikungunya and now the fresh entry Zika, whose first case has been reported in Puerto Rico previous week.
Scientists said that for now, some factors in the new spread are unstoppable; including the weather is getting hotter, low rates of airfares mean humans travel more than they used to do decades ago, and cities in tropical countries have been becoming more packed, which crease nurseries for each disease.
However, there are factors that can be manipulated to put the outbreaks at halt, like insects can be killed, patients can take measure before they get bitten again, development of vaccines, and simple measures, including air-conditioning, screens and bug spray can play large roles.
Presently, Brazil is in a panic over a mosquito-borne virus Zika that could be causing birth of thousands of babies with small heads and brains, a defect known as microcephaly.
Zika had never made their way towards this hemisphere, leaving aside Easter Island which is 2,200 miles off the Chilean coast, until May. But, now it is circulating in 14 Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico.