Global warming and other factors could lead to a sharp increase in the number of vector-borne diseases like dengue and Zika in Puerto Rico in the near future, according to a new review by Dr. Amira Roess, an assistant professor of global health at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health.
Dr. Roess, along with a colleague, conducted a systematic review of 26 peer-reviewed articles studying risk factors for dengue and Zika in Puerto Rico between 2001 and 2015.
First, they found global warming had led to an explosion in the Aedes Aegypti mosquito, a vector that is indigenous to Puerto Rico and carries dengue and the Zika virus. Second, these mosquitos can breed in open septic tanks—and the resulting population boom can then spread Zika and other diseases. The review points to some solutions for the coming epidemics of vector-borne diseases like Zika in Puerto Rico.