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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED BIOSYSTEMATICS AND TAXONOMY FOR PARASITES AMONG UNGULATES AND OTHER VERTEBRATES Title: Climate change promotes the emergence of serious disease outbreaks for Filarioid nematodes

Authors
item Laaksonen, Sauli -
item Pusenius, Jyrki -
item Kumpula, Jouko -
item Venalainen, Ari -
item Kortet, Raine -
item Oksanen, Antti -
item Hoberg, Eric

Submitted to: EcoHealth
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 27, 2010
Publication Date: April 27, 2010
Repository URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/S10393-010-0308-Z
Citation: Laaksonen, S., Pusenius, J., Kumpula, J., Venalainen, A., Kortet, R., Oksanen, A., Hoberg, E.P. 2010. Climate change promotes the emergence of serious disease outbreaks for Filarioid nematodes. EcoHealth. 7:7-13.

Interpretive Summary: Global climate change has a direct influence on the distribution of pathogens and emergence of disease. Scenarios for climate change involve linkages for increasing temperature, invasiveness and dissemination of vector-borne parasites such as those transmitted by mosquitoes. Coincidental with decades of warming, and anomalies of high temperature and humidity in Fennoscandia, the mosquito-borne filarioid nematode Setaria tundra is now associated with emerging epidemic disease resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality for reindeer and moose. We developed a model based on temperature range in northern ecosystems to describe the factors that determine the patterns and timing of outbreaks for disease attributable to this parasite. Historical weather data unambiguously indicate that mean summer temperatures exceeding14°C drive the explosive emergence of disease due to S. tundra in the following year. Episodes of extreme weather (temperature and humidity) serve to modify behaviour of mosquito intermediate and reindeer definitive hosts and result in rapid amplification of parasite populations in areas of lowland habitats where arthropods and ungulates are concentrated. We suggest that this and other parasites may be involved in synergy with an array of abiotic and biotic factors in the global declines for major populations of reindeer and caribou across northern ecosystems. An association between climate and emergence of filarioid parasites ungulates demonstrates an expanding challenge to ecosystem integrity and food security for subsistence-based cultures at high latitudes which remain dependant in large part on wildlife resources. Consequently, parasites and emerging diseases must be figured as components of the current “equations” used by resource managers in understanding the impact of cumulative (long term) and episodic processes emerging from global climate change.

Technical Abstract: Scenarios for climate change involve direct linkages for increasing temperature, invasiveness and dissemination of vector-borne parasites. Coincidental with decades of warming, and anomalies of high temperature and humidity in Fennoscandia, the mosquito-borne filarioid nematode Setaria tundra is now associated with emerging epidemic disease resulting in substantial morbidity and mortality for reindeer and moose. Historical weather data unambiguously indicate that mean summer temperatures exceeding14°C drive the explosive emergence of disease due to S. tundra in the following year. An association between climate and emergence of filarioid parasites ungulates demonstrates an expanding challenge to food security for subsistence cultures at high latitudes.

Last Modified: 10/24/2014
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