A warmer climate will exert multiple and diverse effects on ecological systems. Climate change will affect disease vectors, especially mosquitoes, and disease-causing organisms, such as the protozoa that cause malaria, bacteria, and viruses. Malaria will spread to higher latitudes and altitudes. Without mitigation and adaptation to climate change half of the world’s population is likely to be at risk for contracting dengue before 2100. Lyme disease is already spreading. Hantavirus infections, which may have a 40% mortality, are likely to hospitalize as many as 200,000 individuals annually according the most recent IPCC report. Water-borne illnesses, particularly cholera, are likely to follow in the wake of tropical storms, as was the case in post-earthquake Haiti where a severe outbreak followed flooding due to Hurricane Tomas. Understanding disease ecology will become increasingly important.
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