In Goethe’s poem, the sorcerer’s apprentice use magic to lighten his workload, but because his knowledge is limited, his spell creates more problems than it solves.
From the current issue of Nature
In an effort to combat warming-induced drought, Australians may be clearing the way for the spread of dengue fever. A recent move by the government to encourage households to install rainwater storage tanks may provide a breeding ground for the insect that transmits the disease, raising the risk of future outbreaks, finds new research.
In an ecological modelling study, Nigel Beebe of the University of Queensland and colleagues found that the mosquito that transmits dengue fever, Aedes aegypti, could potentially occupy a range that includes most major cities in Australia. It is currently found only in northern Queensland, however, because its distribution is limited by the availability of suitable breeding sites. On its own, further warming up to 2050 is unlikely to cause the mosquito to spread more widely — but the government-subsidized water tanks, which over one-fifth of Australian households have already installed, could allow it to gain a foothold outside Queensland.
Once infected mosquitoes have arrived, say the authors, dengue transmission could be aided by rising temperatures, which may lengthen the warm season in which the virus can pass to humans.