Three government entities yesterday announced that they would jointly study the effects of global warming on the spread of disease-bearing mosquitos in Taiwan.
The study would help authorities develop a comprehensive policy response as mosquito-borne diseases are becoming more prevalent with climate change, officials from the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA), Taipei City Government and National Mosquito-Borne Disease and Research Center told a news conference in Taipei.
The project would map the distribution of mosquito populations and project their spread to support disease control strategies, said Chen Chin-sheng (陳錦生), the convener of the center’s consultative committee.
Photo: Yang Mien-chieh, Taipei Times
Climate change causes drought and floods, which — especially when occurring in succession — are conducive to the spread of mosquitoes populations and mosquito-borne infections, EPA Deputy Minister Shen Chih-hsiu (沈志修) said.
Rising average temperatures and longer periods of heat have led to shifts in the distribution of Taiwan’s mosquito populations, Shen said.
The project would help city and county governments combat the insects, he added.
Scientific models predict that 50 to 60 percent of the world population would by 2085 live in areas where dengue fever is prevalent, said Huang Ching-gi (黃旌集), an assistant researcher at the center.
The models show that the risk of dengue fever transmission in northern Taiwan would increase significantly by 2050, he said.
Climate change is correlated to higher risk of dengue transmission, as mosquitoes — the main vector of the disease — thrive at high temperatures, he said.
The models show that mosquitoes would carry the disease to regions further to the north and at higher altitudes, he added.
The government study would divide Taiwan in 10km2 research areas, and in its first phase focus on Taipei and high-altitude areas, Huang said.
The next phase would add New Taipei City and Taichung, he said.
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