Fischer, D; Thomas, S M; Beierkuhnlein, C: Climate Change Effects on Vector-Borne Diseases in Europe, Nova Acta Leopoldina, 112(384), 99-107 (2010)
The most dangerous infectious diseases occur in tropical or subtropical regions. Climate change, however, will be associated with the spread of vector-borne diseases to higher latitudes. Here, the resulting bio-risks for Europe are presented in more detail. Knowledge on suitable future habitat for disease vectors in Europe is scarce. Here, one approach – the modeling of bioclimatic envelopes - is presented. By combining these envelopes with explicit regional climate change simulations, maps of future suitable climatic conditions for disease vectors can be developed. In addition to climatic drivers, globalization might also contribute to the spread of disease vectors in Europe. High invasive capacity combined with travel and trade has turned several disease vectors into “global players”. Conceivably, climate change might create the ideal conditions at sea- and airports, from which imported vectors could then go on to conquer other areas in Europe. Nevertheless, vector establishment does not always equate to disease outbreak. For this, additional factors such as the abundance of reservoir hosts and pathogen requirements (e.g. thermal constraints) must be fulfilled. As a matter of fact, European health care is challenged by novel threats for which it must be prepared. This will require both interdisciplinary research and close links between policy and science in order to become proactive and if necessary to adapt monitoring systems in time.
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