Climate change and spread of disease carrying animals (mosquitoes)

Background and Goals

Climate changes directly and indirectly influence the development and spread of disease carrying articulate animals, whose development cycle predominantly takes place freely in natural habitats. Increased temperatures can promote the development of endemic or invasive mosquito types (short generation successions), while extreme events such as flooding or persistent rainfall provide suitable breeding water for mosquito larvae and pupae. Mosquitoes can act as a vector for infectious diseases that have not previously been endemic in Germany, such as Dengue fever, Chikungunya fever, West Nile virus, malaria (all transmitted by mosquitoes), Leishmaniasis (transmitted by sandflies) and blue tongue disease (transmitted by gnats).

As part of climate effect research, the import routes for invasive mosquitoes need to be identified and their establishment in Germany studied. At selected locations, all development stages of the mosquitoes need to be collated and a taxonomic identification down to the species carried out. The studies should all incorporate data on the habitats, micro and macro climatic conditions and other influencing factors for the development of the organisms. The objective of the research project is to outline the current situation and its development during the term of the project. In addition, future distribution patterns for mosquito types important as disease carriers will be forecast, enabling possible infection risks for humans and animals to be identified in good time and evaluated. This is the basis for early development and implementation of preventive measures (e.g. early warning systems, local control measures to prevent establishment of new species) and thus reduction of the risk to human and animal health.

The use of different mosquito traps will be investigated in an accompanying comparative study. The expected results will be used to establish further methods for monitoring measures. For years, scientists have been calling for standard global use of special mosquito traps in different infestation situations.

Content time

to

Research area/region

Country
  • Germany

Steps in the process of adaptation to climate change

Step 1: Understand and describe climate change

Approach and results 

No use of climate projections or scenarios

Parameter (climate signals)
  • River flooding
  • Higher average temperatures
  • Extreme precipitation (incl. hail, snow)

Step 2a: Identify and assess risks - climate effects and impact

Approach and results 

Climate changes directly and indirectly influence the development and spread of disease carrying articulate animals, whose development cycle primarily takes place freely in natural habitats. Increased temperatures can promote the development of endemic and new inward migrating or introduced mosquito types (short generation successions), while extreme events such as flooding or persistent rainfall provide suitable breeding water for mosquito larvae and pupae.

Step 3: Develop and compare measures

Measures and/or strategies 

Not studied;

The results can be used as a basis for prompt development and implementation of adaptation or preventive measures (e.g. early warning systems, local control measures to prevent establishment of new species).

Participants

Funding / Financing 

German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); Project owner: German Environment Agency (UBA)

Project management 

Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNI), Abteilung für Molekulare Parasitologie

Cooperation/Partners 

- Kommunale Arbeitsgemeinschaft zur Bekämpfung der Schnakenplage (KABS) e. V.;

- AG Mathematische Modellierung, ICBM, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg;

- Umweltmanagement, Zentralbereich Umwelt, Flughafen Hamburg Gmbh;

- Biogents AG; - AG Gewässerökologie, IBU, Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg;

- Teileinheit Entomologie, Fachbereich Tropenmedizin des Bundeswehrkrankenhauses Hamburg, am Bernhard-Nocht-Institut für Tropenmedizin (BNI);

- Orendt Hydrobiologie – Waterassessment;

- Abt. für Hygiene, Bereich Hygiene und Infektionsmedizin, Gebiet Städtehygiene und Vektorepidemiologie, Institut für Hygiene und Umwelt (HU), Behörde für Gesundheit und Verbraucherschutz, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg;

- AG Zoologie/Parasitologie, Lehrstuhl für Evolutionsökologie und Biodiversität der Tiere, Ruhr-Universität Essen;

Contact

Umweltbundesamt
Fachgebiet IV 1.4 Gesundheitsschädlinge und ihre Bekämpfung
Bötticher Str. 2
D-14193 Berlin

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Fields of action:
 human health