Parasites mobilise as world warms

Global warming may foster spread of canine diseases in Europe

New Scientist vol 202 no 2704, April 18 2009 p15

Global warming will lead to an increase in canine diseases spread by flies, fleas and ticks, according to a 2009 issue of Veterinary Parasitology. Winters are milder and shorter, leading to more active ticks throughout the year. The European dog tick can transmit canine babesiosis, and, as it moves into northern Europe, this disease is becoming more common further north. Ixodes ticks can infect dogs and horses with encephalitis, and are also becoming more common. Meanwhile, dogs from Britain that have been taken to Mediterranean areas can bring back leishmaniasis. This disease is becoming more common in southern England. It is spread by sandflies, so if sandflies were able to colonise the UK because of higher temperatures, leishmaniasis could spread further in the UK.