Dengue, Zika and the Changing Climate: What is the Scientific Link?

The World Health Organization has claimed dengue the most important viral disease carried by mosquitos. In February 2016, they also declared the ongoing Zika epidemic a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, due to the fetal brain damage associated to infection among pregnant women.

The risk for both Dengue and Zika has been generally limited to areas of the tropics. However, scientific evidence from a variety of perspectives suggest that changing climates, in combination with other factors, can shift the geographical extent and intensity of transmission of Zika and dengue vectors.

This report discusses and describes the scientific linkage between the changing climate and changing patterns in dengue and Zika infections. We present a synopsis of the scientific evidence relating climatological factors to the past, present, and potential future distribution of the diseases. In particular, we focus anticipated future transmission dynamics of dengue and Zika in different areas and related policy implications.


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