Vectors, Vector-borne pathogens, Climate-Change, Human Health, Disease


Biology | Life Sciences


Dr. Jodee Hunt


This paper details how ongoing climate change will continue to affect the future of humanity. More specifically, this paper seeks to begin a conversation about how climate change impacts vectors and vector-borne pathogens and how both of these ultimately impact the future of human health. Three different vectors and three different pathogens are compared to provide an overview of how climate change may benefit these vectors and their associated pathogens. The vectors species selected for this comparative study are: (i) mosquitoes (Diptera, family Culicine), (ii) ticks (superorder Parasitiformes, order Ixodida), and (iii) kissing bugs (Hemiptera, subfamily Triatominae). Yellow fever virus is the mosquito-borne pathogen being compared to the tick-borne bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and the kissing bug-borne protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. These pathogens are responsible for some notable vector-borne diseases in different regions of the world and were chosen to be compared to emphasize how different vectors and their pathogens are adapting swiftly to an ever-changing world. Explanations of the mechanisms that these vectors and their associated counterparts utilize to feed and spread disease are provided followed by how they are impacted by climate-change and ultimately how humans may be affected by these drastic changes. Interestingly, each of these vectors will experience a shift in geographical distribution which will affect new and potentially vulnerable populations and will lead to an increase in vector-borne disease if humanity remains unprepared. In order to secure a healthy future in the midst of a changing planet, humanity must be aware of the damage it has already done and prepare for the potential consequences that result from anthropogenic climate change.

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