“With warmer weather, mosquitoes fly more and bite more. And warmth amplifies the infectivity and replication of the virus,” said Robert Haley, director of epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and co-author of a major study on the 2012 outbreak. “If everything else stays the same, you could predict that a warmer climate makes things worse.”
The Dallas epidemic underscored long-held concerns about a facet of climate change that strikes closest to home for millions of people across the U.S. heartland. Many of the predicted consequences of global warming – such as rising sea levels and more powerful storms – can seem remote, separated by time and geography from the daily concerns of most Americans.