PLoS Negl. Trop. Dis. 13, e0007213 (2019).

Climate change is expected to severely exacerbate the risk and burden of viruses transmitted by Aedes mosquitos, including dengue, Zika and chikungunya. This is very concerning for public health and further work is required to elucidate the complex physiological and epidemiological relationships between these viruses, their mosquito vectors, and the environment, and implications for future disease risk.

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Poravute Siriphiroon / Alamy Stock Photo

Sadie Ryan at the University of Florida, United States, and co-authors apply a mechanistic model of the distribution of Aedes-aegypti- and Aedes-albopictus-borne viral transmission to simulate the role climate change might play in redefining the geography of these diseases.

In the worst-case scenario, they find that within the century nearly a billion people will be threatened with new exposure to virus transmission by both Aedes species. However, transmission dynamics are complex, primarily due to Ae. aegypti being more heat tolerant than Ae. albopictus. Interestingly this means that the most extreme increase in Ae. albopictus transmission occurs at intermediate climate change scenarios and decreases under the highest climate change scenario, when temperatures reach a level that begins to reduce disease transmission.