US Climate and Health Alliance

The Link Between Zika and Climate Change


Last year, a team of researchers made a surprising discovery: Aedis aegypti mosquitoes—the species that spreads West Nile Virus, dengue, chickungunya and, most recently, Zika—were living year-round in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, D.C. In a paper published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, the researchers wrote that the mosquitoes had been living in the area since at least 2011, biting and reproducing in the summer months and likely riding out the winter underground. Previously, scientists had believed that the mosquitoes couldn’t survive year-round anyplace north of South Carolina.While the D.C. population of A. aegypti isn’t believed to carry Zika, its presence nevertheless came as a shock. And as the Zika epidemic continues to spread through Brazil, Central America, and now the United States, scientists will continue to wrestle with how environmental factors like climate change are affecting the creatures that spread infectious diseases.

Resource Type
Magazine/newspaper article
The Atlantic
Resource URL
February 24, 2016
Organization Type
Health and Human Impact
Vector-borne disease
Climate and Environmental Impact
Health surveillance

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