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CR 25:85-94 (2003)  -  doi:10.3354/cr025085

Worldwide fluctuations in dengue fever cases related to climate variability

Marianne J. Hopp1,3,*, Jonathan A. Foley2

1International Research Institute for Climate Prediction (IRI), Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO), Columbia University, 61 Route 9W, Palisades, New York 10964, USA
2Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment (SAGE), Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1710 University Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin 53726, USA
3Present address: 540 Foxview Place, Ottawa, Ontario, K1K 4C4, Canada

ABSTRACT: Dengue fever is the most significant mosquito-borne viral disease of humans and is a leading cause of childhood deaths and hospitalizations in many countries. Variations in environmental conditions, especially climatic parameters, affect the dengue viruses and their principal mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti, but few studies have attempted to quantify these relationships at the global scale. Here we use a numerical model to simulate the response of Ae. aegypti to observed climatic variations from 1958 to 1995 and to examine how modelled Ae. aegypti populations may be related to dengue and DHF cases worldwide. We find that variations in climate can induce large variations in modelled Ae. aegypti populations at the global scale. Furthermore, these climate-induced variations in modelled Ae. aegypti populations are strongly correlated to reported historical dengue/DHF cases, especially in Central America and Southeast Asia. These results suggest that potential dengue caseloads could be anticipated using seasonal climate forecasts to drive the mosquito model, thus providing a useful tool in public health management.

KEY WORDS: Dengue · Climate · Aedes aegypti · Mosquito · Model · Population dynamics · Climate forecasts

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