A new climate model can predict dengue outbreaks in the Caribbean region

July 30, 2018

Changes in climate, such as rain and drought, can affect the risk of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and Zika. An international team comprising the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) -an institution supported by "la Caixa" Foundation- has developed a new tool to predict the impact of droughts and extreme rainfall on the risk of dengue outbreaks.

Over the last years, the Caribbean region has faced a large number of disease outbreaks transmitted by the Aedes mosquito (dengue, chikungunya and Zika). It is also a region with large drought periods, particularly in years with El Niño events. During these dry seasons, many households store water in recipients, which represents ideal breeding sites for mosquitoes. However, few studies have examined the effects of prolonged drought on dengue transmission.

Now, an international team has developed a statistical model for the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology & Hydrology in order to predict dengue outbreaks in Barbados. The methodology is based on previous studies performed for Brazil and Ecuador. Based on temperature and rainfall data, they built a model that predicted monthly dengue cases between 1999 and 2016.

The results, published in PLOS Medicine, show that the tool successfully predicted the months with dengue outbreaks. In particular, the optimal conditions for outbreaks were drought periods followed by a combination of hot conditions and intense rainfall 4 to 5 months after.

Rachel Lowe, lead author and researcher at ISGlobal and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, explains: "this is the first statistical model that considers the combined impact of drought and rainfall in disease risk. This is important because climate change is leading to more intense and frequent droughts and hurricanes in the region," she adds.

The researcher of the ISGlobal Climate & Health programme concludes: "this tool is of great value for public health policies since it helps to plan interventions aimed at reducing the risk of dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases." In fact, this model is expected to contribute to an early warning system in the entire Caribbean region to predict possible outbreaks of mosquito-borne diseases, three months in advance.

Nonlinear and delayed impacts of climate on dengue risk in Barbados: A modelling study Rachel Lowe, Antonio Gasparrini, Cédric J. Van Meerbeeck, Catherine A. Lippi, Roche Mahon, Adrian R. Trotman, Leslie Rollock, Avery Q. J. Hinds, Sadie J., Ryan, Anna M. Stewart Ibarra. PLOS Medicine. 17 July 2018. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002613

Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal)

Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

Mysterious climate change
New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

Mapping the path of climate change
Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

A CERN for climate change
In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.