Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pacific islands facing epidemics

Fiji Times Online: Pacific Islands is facing epidemics of malaria and dengue fever because of global warming, a report claims. The Telegraph newspaper reports that the tropical diseases will spread south from south east Asia as climate change allows mosquitoes to travel to parts of the world that used to be too cold for them to survive.

The report, The Sting of Climate Change: Malaria and Dengue Fever in Maritime Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, predicts that in countries where the mosquito-borne diseases are already present, the situation will worsen as temperatures climb.

"Mosquitoes are very sensitive to changes in climate. Warmer conditions allow the mosquitoes and the malaria parasite itself to develop and grow more quickly, while wetter conditions let mosquitoes live longer and breed more prolifically," it said. "The sting of climate change is an international public health crisis being felt on Australia's tropical doorstep. It may soon be pressing on Australia's northern shores as well."

…Malaria is already a problem in Papua New Guinea's lowlands, but the research suggests that as the world warms up mosquitoes will be able to travel into the country's western highlands, affecting up to another two million people live. In Fiji, it estimates climate change could also increase the incidence of dengue fever by up to 30 per cent….

This virus causes dengue fever

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