Climate change is causing a number of changes around the world, and within the next few years one of them might be the migration of disease-carrying mosquitoes to our shores.
A study in the Lancet Journal of Infectious Diseases has found that rising temperatures in the UK may well lead to the migration of mosquitoes that carry deadly diseases such as the dengue fever or chikungunya virus.
Mosquitoes have been shown to be particularly responsive to changes in climate, and that would create the perfect conditions for the Asian tiger mosquito, which carries the aforementioned viruses.
The findings were based on climate change modelling that showed that a change of even a few degrees will be enough to sustain the new breeds of mosquitoes, and that the global trade in used tyres has already seen several species of mosquito enter the UK, thanks to the fact that they tend to lay their eggs in them. Dr Jolyon Medlock, one of the lead authors of the study, stated that a new system to monitor that particular industry needed to be introduced as a result.
Public Health England has been monitoring the numbers and breed of mosquitoes and have stated that no sightings of the Asian tiger mosquito have been reported yet.
Medlock and the other authors of the study were keen to point out that they were using climate change modelling to predict the change in temperatures and the results are not guaranteed to happen, merely predictive. However, the spread of malaria to other countries in Europe and chikungunya to Italy and France has shown that there are precedents for this type of migration.