Dr. Shulamit Paz and her University of Haifa research team have linked global warming to the spread of West Nile Virus in Europe, Israel and other regions.
“We used statistical tools,” Dr. Paz explained, “and found that as a result of heat waves a dramatic increase in the number of cases resulted from increased activity of the virus and a growth of the mosquito population.”
Mosquitoes that bite infected birds spread West Nile. The infection, which can cause irreversible brain damage through encephalitis and meningitis in humans is now considered to be endemic in Africa, Asia and parts of the Middle East, Europe and the U.S.
The study, which was published in PloS One and has received international media coverage, was conducted at the University of Haifa for the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control in Stockholm, part of the European Union. The Haifa research team is continuing their efforts to develop a model for predicting the effects of the virus in Europe.