10/16/2021 at 10:03 AM CEST
Two of the most annoying insects that we can come across in Spain, ticks and mosquitoes, are favored by global warming, so that each year they are appearing earlier and multiplying more. The diseases they transmit can be very serious.
Problems and diseases related to ticks “are increasing exponentially & rdquor; due to climate change, which generates shorter and milder winters, according to Agustín Estrada, professor of the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Zaragoza, reports ..
Estrada confirmed this week in a conference on pests that the problems generated by this parasite “are increasing exponentially & rdquor; due to altered weather patterns, which imply that “Each time the activity of the species begins earlier & rdquor; and their mortality is reduced.
In addition, its area of activity has varied and, thus, at this time “it is practically impossible to find ticks in regions such as Extremadura, which 50 years ago were one of its habitats & rdquor; and yet “they have moved north.”
Estrada considers that one of the main factors behind its entry into Spain is due to the displacement of “hundreds of millions of migratory birds that introduce ticks from Africa & rdquor ;.
In any case, the head of the area of the Alerts and Emergencies Coordination Center (CCAES) of the Ministry of Health, María José Sierra Moros, explained in the same act that this issue “must be treated with a comprehensive approach & rdquor ;, since the diseases transmitted by vectors such as ticks “are very complex because many factors converge: biological, environmental, ecological & mldr; & rdquor; and therefore it is necessary “a framework that allows work from the public health with coordination and collaboration & rdquor; from other agents.
The general director of the ANECPLA employers’ association, of companies specialized in pests, Jorge Galván, agreed with Sierra on the need for “a transversal approach that evaluates environmental, animal and human health & rdquor ;, after confirming that the tick population today in Spain is “shot up”.
The problem is compounded by considering that “future pandemics after Covid-19 will be of zoonotic origin, according to the & rdquor; and in them the tick, which already transmits serious diseases such as Crimean Congo hemorrhagic fever, poses an added risk.
West Nile virus, driven by warming
On the other hand, the general increase in temperatures as a result of the climate crisis is favoring the transmission of West Nile virus (WNV) in some areas of Europe, where conditions are more suitable for the proliferation of viruses and their mosquitoes transmitters.
This is warned by a study by the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) that analyzes the causes for which the West Nile virus has recently emerged as a health problem in Europe due to its rapid spread.
In the study, in addition, the scientists warn that the virus will spread to places further north in Europe due to warmer weather.
West Nile virus is a vector-borne zoonotic disease that is generally transmitted between birds and mosquitoes. Humans, horses, and other mammals can become infected, but they cannot transmit it.
Infections in humans can be serious, leading to neurological disease and death, says the study.
Until recently, this virus was only occasionally reported in Europe and was believed to have entered the continent through infected migratory birds in sub-Saharan Africa.
This study, published in the journal ‘One Health’, tries to answer the question of why the disease has become so prevalent in Europe lately.
Several factors combined
To do this, they processed and analyzed data from 166 regions of southern and southeastern Europe collected over 13 years, which highlighted changes in climate, land use patterns, economic changes and government spending as key factors. central government in areas such as sanitation and the environment.
According to Matthew Watts, principal investigator of the study, there is no simple explanation to describe the recent rise of the Nile virus, but rather a combination of causes.
Usually, warmer weather in the spring and summer months due to the climate crisis is making conditions more favorable for the virus and its mosquito vectors.
The researcher noted that warmer winters have likely allowed infected female common house mosquitoes (Culex pipiens) to survive the winter in regions that were previously too cold (such as northern Italy); therefore, the virus can now survive if mosquitoes endure the winter and spread early in the year.
The results confirmed that regions with a higher proportion of wetlands and arable land, including irrigated agriculture, which tends to attract birds and mosquitoes, are most at risk of contracting the disease.
“Without a doubt, change other types of irrigated land use would have increased the risk of disease& rdquor ;, according to Watts, who states that drought may also be increasing the intensity of disease outbreaks, as reduced water resources bring mosquitoes and birds into closer contact and increase possible cases of transmission and prevalence of the disease. viruses, which can then spread to humans.
The study has also revealed that the countries that registered the highest number of cases of Nile virus during the period analyzed were also those that applied the most significant cuts in environmental protection and wastewater expenditures, which could have benefited the presence of mosquitoes and of the virus.
Main photo: Waltham
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