Another Consequence of Climate Change: More Disease-Spreading Mosquitoes

As residents in North Carolina recover from the massive flooding brought on by Hurricane Florence, they’re getting inundated by another unwelcome visitor. Swarms of them: In one video taken recently, a mother contemplates how to get her and her child out of a car surrounded by what appear to be wasps. Dozens cling on to their windows.

“They’re not wasps, baby, they’re mosquitoes,” the woman says when her child asks about them.

Spikes in bloodthirsty mosquito populations are common after major storms. And with climate change bringing more storms like Florence, and also upping their strength, the increased potential for the transmission of vector-born illnesses like Zika, West Nile, and the chikungunya virus are a top concern for public-health experts.

“That’s one of the hottest topics in climate and health right now,” said Juanita Constible, a climate expert at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And that’s partly because the answer is so dependent on the mosquito and disease in question, and where the mosquito and [pathogen] live.”

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