The Telegraph & Infectious Diseases.

By Paul Homewood


h/t Paul Kolk


The Telegraph is becoming a bigger joke than ever!



Climate change is the greatest health threat of the 21st century. It is not only endangering the lives of millions by driving inhospitable weather conditions across the globe, but also heightening the risk of outbreaks of deadly diseases.

In altering the characteristics of the environment in which animals habitually live, both in terms of temperature and the availability of water and food sources, the danger of infections spilling over from animals into humans is high.

Worryingly, disease-carrying animals and insects are now moving into those parts of the world that are heating up and creating the environments that allow these creatures to thrive.

Because of this shift, the northern regions of the planet are particularly at risk of developing epidemic outbreaks.

In Europe, North America and some Arctic regions of Russia, a change in the distribution of tick species that carry pathogens such as Lyme disease – a flu-like infection that includes skin rashes followed, weeks or months later, by neurological, cardiac, or joint changes – has been observed.

It is still a relatively rare disease that can affect the blood and lead to hemolytic anemia, in which the body’s red blood cells break down, but its impact on health can be expected to increase significantly soon with climate change.

The Asian tiger mosquito, native to tropical and subtropical areas, has also gradually spread to America, Europe and China as well, causing the spread of some of the diseases it vectors, such as dengue. 

This is a disease influenced by rising temperatures and humidity, which promotes both the reproduction of the mosquito, prolonging its life cycle, and the frequency of bites.

In addition, where drought forces water supply and its collection in special tanks or cisterns, the mosquito uses these places to lay eggs and multiply its reproductive capacity, coming more easily into contact with humans.

The likelihood of dengue infection is highest in metropolitan areas. Italy and France are currently the most affected European nations – a British tourist contracted the ‘tropical’ disease in Nice last September – but the risk of outbreaks in the near future appears high across the continent.

Increased rainfall, driven by climate change, can also contribute to changes in the behaviour of disease-carrying creatures in a given area and the pathogenic microorganisms associated with them, altering their likelihood of survival and thus the risk of spread.

For example, mosquitoes of the genus Aedes, responsible for diseases such as Rift Valley fever (RVF) in East Africa, proliferate particularly during periods of high rainfall associated with phases of El Niño activity.

There are currently no reports of RVF in Europe, but the spread of other mosquito-borne African viruses outside the continent raises concerns that this disease could soon follow suit.

Heavy rains associated with high temperatures and humidity are also believed to be responsible for the increase in malaria cases, the endemic spread of which had been virtually eliminated through massive hygiene and public health interventions in the 1970s.

The disease is again emerging in Europe due to the combined effect of increased travel and immigration from high-endemic countries and the climate-driven spread of the Anopheles mosquitoes, the vector of Plasmodium, which causes malaria.

The World Bank report indicates that, by 2050, climate change could put some previously malaria-unexposed areas such as China, South America and sub-Saharan Africa at risk, with a 50 per cent increase in the likelihood of disease transmission.

So who is this Francesco Branda who wrote the article? Some expert on tropical diseases maybe? Unsurprisingly, no:


A Ph.D. student in computer modelling! Have not the Telegraph learnt anything about modelling, following the COVID fiasco?

Instead of letting a student write an article, why did not they ask an expert like Paul Reiter to do it. His experience in the field is second to now – see here. In 2005, he gave a detailed presentation to the Select Committee on Economic Affairs, concerning the IPCC’s statements on malaria and other mosquito borne diseases.

He began by reminding  members that the area occupied by Parliament used to be a notorious malarious swamp, and finished with these remarks:

The natural history of mosquito-borne diseases is complex, and the interplay of climate, ecology, mosquito biology, and many other factors defies simplistic analysis. The recent resurgence of many of these diseases is a major cause for concern, but it is facile to attribute this resurgence to climate change, or to use models based on temperature to "predict" future prevalence. In my opinion, the IPCC has done a disservice to society by relying on "experts" who have little or no knowledge of the subject, and allowing them to make authoritative pronouncements that are not based on sound science. In truth, the principal determinants of transmission of malaria and many other mosquito-borne diseases are politics, economics and human activities. A creative and organized application of resources is urgently required to control these diseases, regardless of future climate change.

The full speech can be read here.

Our World in Data neatly sums up what Reiter was saying:


Previous prevalence of malaria world map

Just a few decades ago, malaria was prevalent in many places that are colder than its current coverage. And they add:

Malaria left its mark on our history, our bodies, drinks, and for thousands of years the deaths of people in all corners of the world.

But in the last few generations, humanity gained ground in this long-lasting battle against the disease. The map shows in which regions of the world malaria is prevalent today (in purple) and where it was prevalent in the past. Just a few generations ago malaria was common in many more places around the world than it is today. Over the course of the 20th century the disease was eliminated in many populous regions of the world, saving the lives of millions.

What the map makes clear is that malaria is not a tropical disease, but a disease that was eliminated everywhere except for the tropics. Historically malaria was prevalent in Europe and North America – poet Friedrich Schiller contracted the disease in Mannheim, Oliver Cromwell in Ireland, and Abraham Lincoln in Illinois.9

First, public health measures, especially the widespread use of insecticides to attack the mosquito. Second, the drainage of swampland for expanding agricultural land had the side effect of restricting the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. And third, social and economic development which not only made treatment available to those that were infected, but also led to improvements in housing conditions which lowered the chances of infection in the first place.

All three factors – insecticides, land use change, and economic development – were major reasons that Europe and the other regions shown in shades of yellow, orange, and red are free of malaria today.

Prof Duane Gubler is an expert on dengue, and he had this to say:

Dengue is the most important arboviral disease of humans with over half of the world’s population living in areas of risk. The frequency and magnitude of epidemic dengue have increased dramatically in the past 40 years as the viruses and the mosquito vectors have both expanded geographically in the tropical regions of the world. There are many factors that have contributed to this emergence of epidemic dengue, but only three have been the principal drivers: 1) urbanization, 2) globalization and 3) lack of effective mosquito control. The dengue viruses have fully adapted to a human-Aedes aegypti-human transmission cycle, in the large urban centers of the tropics, where crowded human populations live in intimate association with equally large mosquito populations. This setting provides the ideal home for maintenance of the viruses and the periodic generation of epidemic strains. These cities all have modern airports through which 10s of millions of passengers pass each year, providing the ideal mechanism for transportation of viruses to new cities, regions and continents where there is little or no effective mosquito control. The result is epidemic dengue.

And the WMO add:

The Aedes aegypti mosquito lives in urban habitats and breeds mostly in man-made containers. Unlike other mosquitoes Ae. aegypti is a day-time feeder; its peak biting periods are early in the morning and in the evening before dusk. Female Ae. aegypti bites multiple people during each feeding period.

Aedes albopictus, a secondary dengue vector in Asia, has spread to North America and more than 25 countries in the European Region, largely due to the international trade in used tyres (a breeding habitat) and other goods (e.g. lucky bamboo). Ae. albopictus is highly adaptive and, therefore, can survive in cooler temperate regions of Europe. Its spread is due to its tolerance to temperatures below freezing, hibernation, and ability to shelter in microhabitats.

The Telegraph should apologise for misleading readers, and ask the experts to write an article giving the facts.


May 20, 2023 at 12:06PM

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