INDIANAPOLIS — A new report warns that tropical diseases could become common in Indiana by the end of the century as the state’s climate grows warmer and wetter.
The report on global warming’s expected impact on the state released Thursday in association with the ongoing Indiana Climate Change Impact Assessment, the Indianapolis Star reported.
The report says climate change driven by fossil fuel emissions will bring an increase of disease-spreading mosquitoes, ticks and other pests to the state. They can carry diseases such as malaria, Zika and dengue fever.
This assessment is the first time that the impact of climate change has been thoroughly examined, according to the newspaper.
Gabriel Filippelli is the lead author of the report and the director of the Center for Urban Health at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. He said conditions “are already ripe in southern Indiana to host these diseases.”
“Diseases that we eradicated in the U.S. 100 years ago are likely to be raging back in the near future,” Filippelli said.
The declining number of days when temperatures reach below 5 degrees contributes to pest populations.
Marion County is among those that have already started to see more pests. The county recorded a 500 percent increase in mosquitoes since 1981. An increase in extreme rainfall and flooding will also bring risks that include toxic algal blooms, gastrointestinal illnesses and prevalence of lead and mold inside homes.
“Climate change has been termed as a ‘threat multiplier,'” said Paul Halverson, dean of the Fairbanks School of Public Health. “The reality is that Indiana really has substantial health challenges.”
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com