A pathogen on the march
Climate change is affecting which diseases strike where
Late in 2006 more than 2,000 cases of bluetongue virus infection were seen in northern Europe – a region previously free of the virus. The disease, which kills around 30 per cent of the animals it infects, is transmitted by a species of midge that thrives in warm, wet areas.
Hot summers seem to have moved the midge’s habitat northwards, with the virus spreading with it. The spread of bluetongue illustrates how climate change could have a big impact on animal and human health.Lead image:
Damien du Toit/Flickr CC BY NC
- A factsheet on bluetongue virus [Warning: Contains post-mortem images]
- Bluetongue outbreaks set to rise with climate change
- Modelling the effects of past and future climate on the risk of bluetongue emergence in Europe (2011)