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Dengue Fever in a Warming World
Kyle, J.L. and Harris, E. 2008. Global spread and persistence of dengue. Annual Review of Microbiology 62: 71-92.

The authors state that "dengue is a spectrum of disease caused by four serotypes of the most prevalent arthropod-borne virus affecting humans today," and that "its incidence has increased dramatically in the past 50 years," to where "tens of millions of cases of dengue fever are estimated to occur annually, including up to 500,000 cases of the life-threatening dengue hemorrhagic fever/dengue shock syndrome."

What was done
Kyle and Harris conducted a review of the pertinent scientific literature, exploring "the human, mosquito, and viral factors that contribute to the global spread and persistence of dengue, as well as the interaction between the three spheres, in the context of ecological and climate change."

What was learned
With respect to the status of dengue fever within the context of climate change, the two researchers say "there has been a great deal of debate on the implications of global warming for human health," but that "at the moment, there is no consensus." However, "in the case of dengue," as they continue, "it is important to note that even if global warming does not cause the mosquito vectors to expand their geographic range, there could still be a significant impact on transmission in endemic regions," as they say that "a 2C increase in temperature would simultaneously lengthen the lifespan of the mosquito and shorten the extrinsic incubation period of the dengue virus, resulting in more infected mosquitoes for a longer period of time." Nevertheless, they note there are "infrastructure and socioeconomic differences that exist today and already prevent the transmission of vector-borne diseases, including dengue, even in the continued presence of their vectors," citing Reiter (2001).

What it means
It would appear that whatever advantages rising temperatures may confer upon the dengue virus vector, they can be more than overcome by proper implementation of modern vector control techniques.

Reiter, P. 2001. Climate change and mosquito-borne disease. Environmental Health Perspectives 109 (Supplement1): 141-161.

Reviewed 10 December 2008