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Yellow Fever and Dengue in Tomorrow's Europe
Reiter, P. 2010. Yellow fever and dengue: A threat to Europe? Eurosurveillance 15:

The author, who is with the Insects and Infectious Disease Unit of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, writes that "it is widely stated that the incidence of vector-borne diseases will increase if global temperatures increase," which is, in fact, one of the numerous catastrophes that climate alarmists continually associate with global warming; and while admitting that temperature and rainfall do indeed "play a role" in the transmission of such diseases, he says that "many other factors are involved," citing a paper he wrote at the turn of the century (Reiter, 2001).

What was done
In revisiting this important subject, Reiter reviews the scientific literature, distilling the essence of the current state of knowledge pertaining to the potential for yellow fever and dengue transmission throughout modern-day Europe.

What was learned
Reiter reports that "the introduction and rapidly expanding range of Aedes albopictus in Europe is an iconic example of the growing risk of the globalization of vectors and vector-borne diseases," and that "the history of yellow fever and dengue in temperate regions confirms that transmission of both diseases could recur, particularly if Aedes aegypti, a more effective vector, were to be re-introduced." Indeed, he states that "conditions are already suitable for transmission."

What it means
In light of Reiter's findings, can we expect to face the problem of the two deadly diseases suddenly reappearing and racing across Europe, especially if the climate begins to warm again? Actually, it would not be incredibly surprising if such were to happen even if the climate were to cool, for Reiter concludes, based on what we know, that "a more urgent emerging problem is the quantum leap in the mobility of vectors and pathogens that has taken place in the past four decades, a direct result of the revolution of transport technologies and global travel," as described in his recently published treatise (Reiter, 2010). Consequently, Europe and other temperate lands would do well to better prepare themselves for such an eventuality, irrespective of whatever the climate may do.

Reiter, P. 2001. Climate change and mosquito-borne disease. Environmental Health Perspectives 109 Supplement 1: 141-161.

Reiter, P. 2010. A mollusc on the leg of a beetle: Human activities and the global dispersal of vectors and vector-borne pathogens. In: Relman, D.A., Choffnes, E.R. and Mack, A. (Rapporteurs). Infectious Disease Movement in a Borderless World. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, USA, p. 150-165.

Reviewed 4 August 2010