Dengue Fever and Climate Change

Part of the Respiratory Medicine book series (RM)


Dengue fever is a viral tropical and subtropical mosquito-borne disease of special concern to public health in the context of a changing climate. A growing public health concern exists not only due to the increased magnitude of incidence, but also to the escalating severity of its complications. Several factors have made this once localized disease rise to importance on the world stage during the later half of the nineteenth century, and climate change is expected to further its spread and intensity. Once isolated to a few areas in the tropics, dengue fever and its vectors have shown themselves to be highly adaptable to a wide variety of global environments and dengue fever is now the most rapidly spreading mosquito-borne disease in the world. Population growth, unplanned and uncontrolled urbanization, and increased travel paired with ineffective vector control, disease surveillance, and inadequate public health infrastructure have been cited as drivers in the recent escalation of cases. The fact that dengue fever is a vector-borne disease makes it extremely sensitive to climatic variation. To better understand and predict dengue incidence, scientists have sought to define the relationships between climatic factors and the virus, its vectors, and the risk of transmission. A changing climate is predicted to expand the range of suitable habitat for dengue’s mosquito vectors. Within that geographic range, greater portions of the world’s population are predicted to live within a climate conducive to dengue epidemics. In addition to the modeled direct effects of a changing climate on epidemic potential, climate change is predicted to be significantly detrimental to societal and public health services stability in many of the same geographic areas where the population is already at risk of dengue or is expected to be under climate change scenarios.


Disease vectors Mosquito vectors Urbanization Severe dengue Climate change Epidemic 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Tahoe Consulting, LLCNorth Salt LakeUSA
  2. 2.Marron Institute of Urban ManagementNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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