Science

Disease-carrying mosquitoes reach Crimea as they spread around the world thanks to global warming


Disease-carrying mosquitoes have spread as far north as the Crimean Peninsula as climate change continues to warm the planet

  • Two disease carrying mosquitoes can now be found around the Black Sea’s coast
  • They can be identified by the distinguishing marks on their bodies and legs
  • Russian experts have warned of the potential for epidemics to arise in Crimea
  • To the north-east, in Penza, an outbreak of hemorrhagic fever has been reported

Disease-carrying mosquitoes have reached southern Russia‘s Crimea peninsula as global warming aids the spread of the potentially deadly insects.

An outbreak of hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome — commonly dubbed ‘mouse fever’ — has also broken out in the Penza region to the northeast of the Black Sea.

Outbreaks have been reported in 13 districts, News.ru reported, with 161 fever patients having been diagnosed in the region so far this year.

Mosquitoes are also known vectors for various deadly diseases, including Zika, the chikungunya virus, dengue fever, the west Nile virus and yellow fever.

Russian epidemiologists have cautioned that further outbreaks are at risk of emerging and spreading further north into Russia.

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Disease-carrying mosquitoes have reached southern Russia's Crimea peninsula as global warming fosters the spread of the potentially deadly insects

Disease-carrying mosquitoes have reached southern Russia’s Crimea peninsula as global warming fosters the spread of the potentially deadly insects

It is believed that the disease-carrying mosquito species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus likely arrived in the region around the Black Sea — along whose entire coastline they can now be found — from Egypt and southeastern Asia.

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Alongside viruses, mosquitoes can also spread filamentous worm larvae which can severely compromise the internal organs of both afflicted animals and people. 

Russian disease experts have warned that an epidemic could easily break out in the Crimea and spread up into central Russia, reported the Izvestia newspaper.

The risk is heightened by the potential for tourists and other travellers to transport the disease over greater distances that it would otherwise be able to spread.

‘Carriers of tropical diseases, which should not appear in the north, migrate to areas with suitable temperature conditions,’ Moscow’s Martsinovsky Institute of Medical Parasitology and Tropical Medicine biologist Alexander Lukashev, told Crime Russia.

‘In Russia, they already multiplied in the south and are now moving to Central Russia.’

Professor Lukashev said that disease carrying mosquitoes are easy to distinguish from those mosquitoes that are native to Russia.

The disease-carriers have either white marks on their legs and a matching strip on their backs, or alternatively black and white striped legs and a spotted abdomen. 

Russian officials, however, have reportedly endeavoured to dismiss the full extent of the hazard being posed by these new arrivals.

President Vladimir Putin has admitted that Russia is increasingly feeling the impact of climate change, but has denied that the phenomena is man-made in origin.

Unseasonably warm conditions and flooding in late May last year were attributed as the cause of a plague of mosquitoes that hit southwest Russia’s Voronezh region, which lies just 290 miles from the capital city of Moscow.

Previously, only yellow fever and West Nile fever had been recorded in Russia previously, the Times reported.

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Yellow fever had previously been eliminated in the 1950s, but has seen a re-emergence recently.

It is believed that the disease-carrying mosquito species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus likely arrived in Crimea and around the Black Sea — along whose entire coastline they can now be found — from Egypt and southeastern Asia

It is believed that the disease-carrying mosquito species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus likely arrived in Crimea and around the Black Sea — along whose entire coastline they can now be found — from Egypt and southeastern Asia

WHY DO MOSQUITOES BITE SOME PEOPLE AND NOT OTHERS?

Around 20 per cent of people are more prone to mosquito bites.

And while scientists are yet to find a cure, they do have some ideas as to why the insects attack some of us more than others.  

Blood type

Certain blood types are more attractive to taste buds of mosquitoes. 

Research has shown that people who have Type O blood – the most common blood type – tend to get bitten twice as much as those with Type A. People with Type B blood get bitten somewhere in the middle. 

Exercise and metabolism

Working up a sweat during exercise can also make a person more susceptible to a mosquitoes bite.

Strenuous exercise causes higher body temperatures and a buildup of lactic acid, which emit yummy signals to the insects.     

Beer    

A cold glass of beer makes you sweat and your body release ethanol, which may be why mosquitoes like to land on beer drinkers. 

Skin bacteria 

Levels of bacteria on the human skin can entice mosquitoes to bite, particularly where bacteria clusters like on the ankles and feet. 

Having different types of bacteria on the skin, however, tends to turn the insects off. 

Body odour 

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Mosquitoes use even the faintest of human body odours when searching for potential victims.

It’s been known for some time that female mosquitoes use specific sensors around their mouths to detect carbon dioxide being exhaled from humans and animals.

But a few years ago, researchers from the University of California Riverside discovered the blood-sucking insects also use these same sensors to detect body odours – especially the smell of feet. 

 

 



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