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MEDICAL: DISEASES: ZIKA VIRUS :

ENVIRONMENT GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE:

Higher Temperatures Make Zika More Likely to Spread

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Higher Temperatures Make Zika More Likely to Spread

CBS

Associated Press (AP)

February 4, 2016, 6:33 AM

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ 
higher-temperatures-make-zika-more-likely-to-spread/

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A shorter URL for the above link:

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http://tinyurl.com/jktwrz4

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The mosquito behind the Zika virus seems to operate like a heat-driven missile 
of disease. The hotter it gets, the better the mosquito that carries Zika virus 
is at transmitting its buffet of dangerous illnesses, scientists say.

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Although it is too early to say for this outbreak, past outbreaks of similar 
diseases involved more than just biology. In the past, weather has played a key 
role, as have economics, human travel, air conditioning and mosquito control. 
Even El Nino sneaks into the game. Scientists say you can't just blame one 
thing for an outbreak and caution it is too early to link this one to climate 
change or any single weather event.

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As the temperature rises, nearly everything about the biology of the Aedes 
aegypti mosquito -- the one that carries Zika, dengue fever and other diseases 
-- speeds up when it comes to spreading disease, said entomologist Bill Reisen 
of the University of California Davis.

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"With higher temperatures you have more mosquitoes feeding more frequently and 
having a greater chance of acquiring infection. And then the virus replicates 
faster because it's hotter, therefore the mosquitoes can transmit earlier in 
their life," Reisen said. The thermodynamics of mosquitoes are "driven by 
temperature."

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The hotspots for this Zika outbreak also have been temperature and drought 
hotspots recently. Recife, Brazil, the largest city in the Zika-struck region, 
saw its hottest September-October-November on record, about 1.2 degrees Celsius 
(2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above normal, according to NASA data. The state of 
Pernambuco had its hottest and driest year since 1998, according to the state 
weather agency. And globally, last year was the hottest on record.

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Scientists have studied Zika far less than other mosquito-borne diseases, so 
for guidance they often look at dengue fever or chikungunya, which are 
transmitted by the same species of mosquito. Dengue infects as many as 400 
million people a year, with a quarter of them sick enough to be hospitalized.

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Zika was just declared a global public health emergency after being linked to 
brain deformities in babies in South America. Several thousand cases of 
microcephaly have been reported in Brazil since October, although researchers 
have so far not proven a definitive link to the virus. No vaccine exists for 
Zika.

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The complete article may be read at the URL above.

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