date: Thu, 27 Jun 2002 15:33:49 -0400
from: Paul Reiter <preiteratXYZxyzh.harvard.edu>
subject: Climate change and mosquitoborne disease
Enjoyed meeting you last week.
Attached are a couple of papers I mentioned. The review in
Environmental Health Perspectives is the most comprehensive.
As an example of the sort of thing I tried to explain to you, try the
paper by Harvell in Science, June 21. I have never heard of any of
the authors, yet they write with authority on dengue and malaria.
I ran the bit on bird malaria past my Director, Duane Gubler. He
worked on bird malaria in Hawaii in the 1960s. Even then it was a
major cause of death in wild birds. He agreed: there is no reason to
believe that climate change has been relevant in recent years.
Then there is the bit in the Conclusions: The most detectable effects
of directional climate warming on disease relate to geographic range
expansion of pathogens such as Rift Valley fever, dengue ...
I assure you, there is absolutely no evidence for either. RVF shows
no change in range. Pandemics of dengue (and yellow fever) were once
common in the USA and Europe. The first epidemic of dengue ever
described was in Pennsylvania in 1780 (it was colder then!) and the
disease occurred as far north as Boston. YF has been transmitted in
Dublin and Swansea. Dengue has expanded in range since the
1950s-60s, when there was a major effort to eliminate the vector by
DDT treatments. As the vector has returned, so has the virus.
So, as I tried to explain, in my field there is a lamentable
dissemination of unsubstantiated statements that are not supported by
In answer to your questions re the IPCC: I dont make comments on the
climatology, but if the statements are in any way of the same ilk as
those in my field, then I think the situation is lamentable.
Hope we get a chance to discuss some more.
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