Mosquito season has officially arrived in Florida, although many would argue it never left.
That perception may soon become reality, according to new studies that show the higher temperatures brought on by climate change are already increasing the range and biting season for many mosquitoes, including the Aedes aegypti — the infamous carriers of viruses like dengue and Zika, which hit Miami hard enough in 2016 to scare off many tourists.
Researchers believe the climate shifts will also raise the risks that other mosquito-borne diseases considered largely eliminated as public health threats in the mainland United States could return. Yellow fever tops that list.
Nationally, illnesses from insects like mosquitoes, ticks and fleas have already tripled from 2004 to 2016, according to a report released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control. In that time, nine new germs spread by mosquitoes and ticks were found or introduced into the U.S. The report noted an "accelerating trend of mosquito-borne diseases introduced from other parts of the world."
That trend will be felt most acutely in South Florida, where experts say the region's warm and wet climate — as well as its reputation as an international travel hub — make it the perfect spot for mosquito-borne viruses to flourish. Most travelers to the Magic City come from countries in South America and the Caribbean where diseases spread by the insects are prevalent.
Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald.