Dengue and climate change in Australia: predictions for the future should incorporate knowledge from the past

Russell, Richard C., Currie, Bart J., Lindsay, Michael D., Mackenzie, John S., Ritchie, Scott A., and Whelan, Peter I. (2009) Dengue and climate change in Australia: predictions for the future should incorporate knowledge from the past. Medical Journal of Australia, 190 (5). pp. 265-268.

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•Dengue transmission in Australia is currently restricted to Queensland, where the vector mosquito Aedes aegypti is established. Locally acquired infections have been reported only from urban areas in the north-east of the state, where the vector is most abundant.

•Considerable attention has been drawn to the potential impact of climate change on dengue distribution within Australia, with projections for substantial rises in incidence and distribution associated with increasing temperatures.

•However, historical data show that much of Australia has previously sustained both the vector mosquito and dengue viruses. Although current vector distribution is restricted to Queensland, the area inhabited by A. aegypti is larger than the disease-transmission areas, and is not restricted by temperature (or vector-control programs); thus, it is unlikely that rising temperatures alone will bring increased vector or virus distribution.

•Factors likely to be important to dengue and vector distribution in the future include increased dengue activity in Asian and Pacific nations that would raise rates of virus importation by travellers, importation of vectors via international ports to regions without A. aegypti, higher rates of domestic collection and storage of water that would provide habitat in urban areas, and growing human populations in northern Australia.

•Past and recent successful control initiatives in Australia lend support to the idea that well resourced and functioning surveillance programs, and effective public health intervention capabilities, are essential to counter threats from dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases.

•Models projecting future activity of dengue (or other vector-borne disease) with climate change should carefully consider the local historical and contemporary data on the ecology and distribution of the vector and local virus transmission.

Item ID: 5318
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1326-5377
Keywords: mosquito, dengue, virology, climate change, Australia
Additional Information:

Reproduced with permission from Medical Journal of Australia.

Date Deposited: 25 Sep 2009 02:12
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0605 Microbiology > 060506 Virology @ 34%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 33%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050101 Ecological Impacts of Climate Change @ 33%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920109 Infectious Diseases @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts) @ 50%
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