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The Global Spread of Dengue Fever
Ooi, E.-E. and Gubler, D.J. 2009. Global spread of epidemic dengue: the influence of environmental change. Future Virology 4: 571-580.

The authors write that "dengue/dengue hemorrhagic fever is the most important vector-borne viral disease globally," with over half of the world's population living in areas deemed to be at risk of infection. And they say that "many voices have raised concern that global warming is likely to increase the geographic distribution of the dengue mosquito vectors and the frequency and magnitude of dengue epidemics."

What was done
In a program designed to investigate this important health-related concern, Ooi and Gubler examined "the history of dengue emergence," in order to determine "the major drivers for the spread of both the viruses and mosquito vectors to new geographic regions."

What was learned
The two researchers indicate that "frequent and cyclical epidemics are reported throughout the tropical world, with regular importation of the virus via viremic travelers into both endemic and non-endemic countries," while, to the contrary, they say "there is no good evidence to suggest that the current geographic expansion of the dengue virus and its vectors has been or will be due to global warming." Instead, they conclude that "the magnitude of movement of the human population and trade materials, uncontrolled and poorly planned expansion of urban centers and the lack of effective disease prevention in dengue-endemic regions have served to produce conditions ideal for dengue virus transmission and have been the principal drivers of epidemic dengue for the past three decades," citing the studies of Gubler (1998, 2004), Gubler et al. (2001) and Ooi and Gubler (2009).

What it means
Attempting to reduce the spread of dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever throughout the world by instituting restrictions on the mining and use of fossil fuels (which are claimed to foster global warming) is worse than useless, as it squanders money on totally unrelated matters and draws funds and attention away from programs more intimately associated with the disease that have a much more realistic chance of achieving their more strategically-focused goals.

Gubler, D.J. 1998. Dengue and dengue hemorrhagic fever. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 11: 480-496.

Gubler, D.J. 2004. The changing epidemiology of yellow fever and dengue, 1900 to 2003: full circle? Comparative Immunology, Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 27: 319-330.

Gubler, D.J., Reiter, P., Ebi, K.L., Yap, W., Nasci, R. and Patz, J.A. 2001. Climate variability and change in the United States: potential impacts on vector- and rodent-borne diseases. Environmental and Health Perspectives 109 (Suppl. 2): 223-233.

Ooi, E.E. and Gubler, D.J. 2009. Dengue virus-mosquito interactions. In: Frontiers in Dengue Virus Research, Hanley, K.A. and Weaver, S.C. (Eds.). Caister Academic Press, UK, pp. 143-155.

Reviewed 2 March 2011