By Lydia O'Connor

The factors leading to the current Zika outbreak won't be clear for some time, but environmental health experts say there's a good chance such infectious diseases will become more common as the global climate warms.


There are countless factors that contribute to the rise of an infectious disease like Zika, added Kristie Ebi, an expert on health risks and responses to climate change at the University of Washington. There's a good possibility that a warming planet is one of them.

"This is the kind of thing the field has been saying is likely to occur for the last 20-plus years," she said. It's "very difficult to tease out" whether climate change is driving the disease, she added. "We’ll only figure that out in retrospect, but given the known interactions, is this the kind of thing we’d expect from climate change? Yes."


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