UW Researchers Are Exploring The Link Between Climate Change And Zika Virus

Lab Study Will Look At Affect Warmer Temperatures Have On Zika-Infected Mosquitoes

Sonofi Pasteur (CC-BY-SA)

University of Wisconsin-Madison scientists are looking into whether climate change may lead to the faster spread of diseases like the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.

Jonathan Patz of the UW Global Health Institute says research with malaria showed that parasite developed faster inside a mosquito during warmer temperatures.

“The number of days get fewer and fewer that it takes for that parasite to cross the stomach lining of the mosquito and develop into an infective in the salivary glands,” he said.

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Patz said there are many reasons for a disease to develop and spread quickly. However, he said the UW is starting a lab study growing Zika-infected mosquitoes at different temperatures to see whether a warming planet may make the bugs more harmful.