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Keep up to date with the Southwest Climate Change Network news feeds. Drawing on a selection of high-quality credible sources, the feeds provide quick access to new and recent stories on climate change and energy in the Southwest, cutting-edge climate change research, and climate change solutions involving policy, new technology, and the private sector.

Southern U.S. May Experience Longer West Nile Virus Season

Date Posted: 
September 16, 2013

In many locations across the southern U.S., climate changes may cause the length of the mosquito season to increase even as the summer mosquito population decreases, altering the risk of transmission of West Nile virus, according to a new study published in PNAS. The authors used model simulations to calculate the response of mosquitos—a carrier of West Nile virus—to climate change and found that the impacts across the southern U.S. vary depending on local temperature and precipitation conditions. For example, in the Southwest, onset of the mosquito season will likely be delayed due to drier and hotter spring and summers, but higher late summer temperatures and fall rains could extend the season overall. In the southern portion of the study region, however, summer populations of mosquitos are projected to decrease due to habitat drying. According to the authors, “the results imply that disease-transmission studies and vector-control programs must be targeted locally to maximize their effectiveness.”