A newly released video explains how outbreaks of deadly insect-borne diseases in the United States are linked more to reductions in the application of the pesticide DDT than to global warming.
The video, published by nonprofit public policy research institute Just Facts, describes the research the institute did this year on the claim by Politico that the surge in deadly insect-borne diseases is due to “warming global temperatures.”
Just Facts reported:
Warming global temperatures are changing the range and behavior of disease-carrying insects like mosquitos and ticks and extending the seasons in which they are active. As a result, incidence of the diseases they carry—including Lyme, spotted fever, West Nile and malaria—are all on the rise, despite yearly fluctuations.
However, as the research institute points out, the “U.S. Global Change Resource Program’s Climate Health Assessment” the Politico author cites does not actually support her claim.
“Though there are links between climate and tick distribution, studies that look for links between weather and geographical differences in human infection rates do not show a clear or consistent link between temperature and Lyme disease incidence,” the assessment states.
In fact, the Climate Health Assessment minimizes the ability to predict the effects of climate change alone on deadly insect-borne diseases due to its interaction “with many other factors, including how pathogens adapt and change, the availability of hosts, changing ecosystems and land use, demographics, human behavior, and adaptive capacity.”
“These complex interactions make it difficult to predict the effects of climate change on vector-borne diseases,” the assessment notes.