Triggered regional disease outbreaks throughout the world; cause of the uptick in both potentially fatal diseases is an El Niño driven increase in rainfall; and milder temperatures over the American Southwest; which spurred vegetative growth; providing more food for rodents that carry hantavirus.
El Niño is accompanied by high air pressure in the western Pacific; and low air pressure in the eastern Pacific. El Niño phases are known to occur close to four years; however, records demonstrate that the cycles have lasted between two and seven years.A resulting rodent population explosion put them in more frequent contact with humans, who contract the potentially fatal disease mostly through fecal or urine contamination.
Regional Disease Outbreaks
But as their rodent hosts proliferated; so did plague-carrying fleas.During the 2015-2016 event;by changes in precipitation; land surface temperatures and vegetation created and facilitated conditions for transmission of diseases; resulting in an uptick in reported cases for plague and hantavirus in Colorado and New Mexico; cholera in Tanzania; and dengue fever in Brazil and Southeast Asia.
El Niño is an irregularly recurring climate pattern characterizing by warmer than usual ocean temperatures in the equatorial Pacific; but which creates a ripple effect of anticipated weather changes in far spread regions of Earth in Southeast Asia; namely Indonesia and Thailand, the number of reported cases; while relatively low for an El Niño year, was still higher than in neutral years.In both regions, the El Niño produced higher than normal land surface temperatures and therefore drier habitats; which drew mosquitoes into populated, urban areas containing the open water needed for laying eggs.
As the air warmed, mosquitoes also grew hungrier and reached sexual maturity more quickly, resulting in an increase in mosquito bites.The strong relationship between El Niño events and disease outbreaks underscores the importance of existing seasonal forecasts.
By using the study from a number of climate data sets; among them land surface temperature and vegetation data from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA’s Terra satellite; and NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration precipitation data sets. So seasonal forecasting is actually very good; and the fact that they are updated every month; means can track conditions in different locations and accordingly prepared. So it has the power to save lives.