Latin American is well known for their outbreaks of mosquito-borne disease. Most people are familiar with dengue fever and the West Nile virus, and unless you have been living under a rock for the past couple of years, the Zika virus has caused tremendous devastation in Latin America. Chikungunya is another fairly well known mosquito-borne disease that is most prevalent in South America. However, it is the two diseases that are known as Eastern equine encephalitis and mayoro that do not appear in the news quite as often, yet still cost many Latin American citizens their lives. So why is Latin America more prone to experiencing mosquito-borne epidemics than the rest of the world?
One of the primary reasons why Latin American is such a hotspot for the spread of mosquito-borne disease has to due with the many different and numerous species of mosquitoes that inhabit this region of the world. Eight hundred and sixty two different species of mosquito can be found in South America. While four hundred and sixty two different species of mosquito can be found in Central America, and only one hundred and ninety two in North America. In addition to the high number of different mosquito species in Latin America there also exists a large amount of hosts present in the region that a disease carrying mosquito can infect.
Global warming is another reported reason for why rates of mosquito-borne disease are higher in Latin America. Since mosquitoes require external sources of heat in order to remain at a comfortable temperature, and mosquitoes are highly dependent on the climate for proper functioning, then mosquitoes may prefer and thrive in certain climatic conditions. The relationship between warming climates and the physiological functioning of mosquitoes is complex, but many scientists agree that the increasingly hot and humid climate in South America may be closely related to the rates of reported cases of mosquito-borne disease.
Do you think that there are any other countries that are hit as hard as Latin America when it comes to insect-borne epidemics? Is it possible that some countries may not report as many cases?