Zika, global warming and the next calamity

(PHOTO: Vox)
(PHOTO: Vox)

By Bamidele Oni

Zika virus is fast making headlines all over the world as a new strain of danger in the disease world and in a rather more complicated way, compounding the already existing problem of other life threatening diseases such as Malaria which invariably happens to share a base of similar hosts (Mosquitoes) with the new viral strain.

Malaria has dealt with humanity for as long as the records could trace out most significantly in the humid-tropical world and up till now it still represents the number one causative factor in the case of infant mortality with respect to the developing world. The anopheles family seems to be a bane on humanity as they seem to be capable of wiping out a significant percentage of the human population with their potent killer disease laden capacity.

Now the whole world is under another disease scare and yet the possibility of a rapid worldwide spreading is notably on the high side, thanks to globalization and to a more important factor of the rapidly warming Planet. Climate change has overtime been noted as a profound contributor to the rise in malaria attacks as a result of the increasing global temperature which induces rapidity in the breeding capacity of the host agents (Mosquitoes).

The warming temperature has however been linked to more volume in precipitation which allows for more breeding grounds for the mosquitoes and in a more recent study, the fact that mosquitoes have been found in high altitude areas says much about the level of impact the changing climate is having on disease migration.

The planet has become so modified to the extent that natural events that might have been without major life threatening potentials have found most environments viable enough to support their relative unhealthy growth and consequential destructive capacities. Aside the problem of Malaria, there are quite a number of other water borne hosts of diseases that have also risen in population as a result of global warming and to be realistic enough, the end to such does not seem at sight.

This clearly again sends a note of necessity in the realization of the goals of the sustainable development agenda in relation to the new climate deal. The target of staying within the pre-defined temperature range is definitely an important option now considering the aftermath of non-compliance at least within the view of disease threats, but then, the path to reaching this, is one that is still casting fear in the mind of a lot of people who have done the calculated projection of the long term time frame that was arrived at in Paris.

(PHOTO: Vox)
(PHOTO: Vox)

In a way of creating an added awareness, the impact of climate change goes beyond the mainstream of direct events such as extreme weather events and other like it. The more problem lies in the less or rather inconspicuous impact that indirectly portrays a greater danger as they eat deeply into the very basis of life support. Such indirect impact is the gradual rise in infectious diseases that have the potentials of reaching a global epidemic status if the proper check process is not put in place for adequate containment.

Still, the developing world stand the greater chance of being the heavily impacted compared to the global north and it is even more obvious considering the trace of origin, the spread potential, environmental factors, and the level of readiness of intervention. More consideration for those low lying countries in the pacific, the poor coastal nations that have been faced by constant displacement as a result of climate change, in every way it only seems like more woes to their already existing problems.

Climate change is gradually growing into a phenomenon that has the possible potential of eating deeper than envisaged and clearly influencing several secondary problems cutting across health, environment, social and economic issues. To put more pressure on actualization, more awareness is needed to enable a concerted effort for a global action.

Action has just begun!

Bamidele F Oni, Executive Director of Green Impact International, writes from Abeokuta, Southwest Nigeria


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