Daily Diagnosis: Tropical Diseases Moving North Toward US


From the American Society for Clinical Pathology and BulletinHealthcare: due to climate change, disease-carrying insects are making their way father and father north.

Tropical Diseases Moving North Toward US.

In a nearly 1,200-word article, the New York Times (1/5, D3, McNeil, Subscription Publication) reports that as mosquitoes and ticks are able to expand their ranges due to climate change, tropical diseases, including Lyme, West Nile, Chagas, dengue, chikungunya, and Zika, are moving north. Scientists say that while this does not mean epidemics are imminent, as a “set of factors far more complex than the weather” will determine whether a full outbreak occurs. However, they say some factors “are, for now, unstoppable, scientists say: the weather is hotter; cheap airfares mean humans travel more than they did decades ago; and cities in tropical countries are becoming more crowded, creating nurseries for each disease.” Meanwhile, “other factors can be manipulated to stop outbreaks: insects can be killed; patients can be cured before they are bitten again; vaccines can be developed; and simple measures like screens, air-conditioning and bug spray can play big roles.”

Forbes (1/4) contributor Judy Stone gives an overview of the Zika virus, describes its’ origin, how it spreads, the symptoms associated with the virus, prevention, travel and treatment. Given her overview, Stone concludes that “with globalization and climate change, we can expect to see more and more similar infectious.” She predicts that viruses like dengue, Chikungunya and Zika “are likely to be growing problems in the US over the coming year or two.”

Read the Forbes and the New York Times articles.