Bionomic response of Aedes aegypti to two future climate change scenarios in far north Queensland, Australia: implications for dengue outbreaks

Williams, Craig R., Mincham, Gina, Ritchie, Scott A., Viennet, Elvina, and Harley, David (2014) Bionomic response of Aedes aegypti to two future climate change scenarios in far north Queensland, Australia: implications for dengue outbreaks. Parasites & Vectors, 7 (1). 447. pp. 1-7.

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Background: Dengue viruses are transmitted by anthropophilic mosquitoes and infect approximately 50 million humans annually. To investigate impacts of future climate change on dengue virus transmission, we investigated bionomics of the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti.

Methods: Using a dynamic life table simulation model (the Container inhabiting mosquito simulation CIMSiM) and statistically downscaled daily values for future climate, we assessed climate change induced changes to mosquito bionomics. Simulations of Ae. aegypti populations for current (1991-2011) and future climate (2046-2065) were conducted for the city of Cairns, Queensland, the population centre with most dengue virus transmission in Australia. Female mosquito abundance, wet weight, and the extrinsic incubation period for dengue virus in these mosquitoes were estimated for current and future climate (MPI ECHAM 5 model, B1 and A2 emission scenarios).

Results: Overall mosquito abundance is predicted to change, but results were equivocal for different climate change scenarios. Aedes aegypti abundance is predicted to increase under the B1, but decrease under the A2 scenario. Mosquitoes are predicted to have a smaller body mass in a future climate. Shorter extrinsic incubation periods are projected.

Conclusions: It is therefore unclear whether dengue risk would increase or decrease in tropical Australia with climate change. Our findings challenge the prevailing view that a future, warmer climate will lead to larger mosquito populations and a definite increase in dengue transmission. Whilst general predictions can be made about future mosquito borne disease incidence, cautious interpretation is necessary due to interaction between local environment, human behaviour and built environment, dengue virus, and vectors.

Item ID: 36100
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1756-3305
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© 2014 Williams et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC Project 1003371
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2014 12:38
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110899 Medical Microbiology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1108 Medical Microbiology > 110804 Medical Virology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920404 Disease Distribution and Transmission (incl. Surveillance and Response) @ 100%
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