Climate change will impact spread of Ebola

October 24, 2019

As global temperatures warm, Ebola outbreaks could become more common and spread to new parts of the world, Earther reports.

A recent study published in Nature Communications discovered that, because it prefers warm and wet conditions, the Ebola virus will soon be able to infect animal hosts in more countries due to climate change.

Study scientists used data on the disease to model potential scenarios about the distribution and frequency of the virus. In almost every scenario run during the study, the Ebola virus became more prevalent, including scenarios in which humans reduced carbon emissions.

According to Earther, the virus could spread to encompass an area between 1% and 15% larger by 2070. The study also took air travel into consideration and found that the virus has the potential to move to the United States, India, China, Russia and some European countries.

One determining factor in the severity of Ebola outbreaks is socioeconomic development. Less socioeconomically advanced areas are at greater risk of an Ebola outbreak.

In one encouraging scenario, however, researchers found that a combination of reducing emissions and improving socioeconomic factors could decrease the area susceptible to Ebola outbreaks by up to 50%.

Slowing population growth, providing more economic opportunities and doing more to protect the environment also showed a reduction in outbreak area.

Scientists tested the model they used for this research 20,000 times to ensure its accuracy. The full study can be found here.

Climate change will impact spread of Ebola