Urban climate versus global climate change-what makes the difference for dengue?: Climate, dengue, and urban heat islands

By Renaud Misslin, Olivier Telle, Daudé Eric, Alain Vaguet, and Richard Paul
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 27 May 2016

The expansion in the geographical distribution of vector-borne diseases is a much emphasized consequence of climate change, as are the consequences of urbanization for diseases that are already endemic, which may be even more important for public health. In this paper, we focus on dengue, the most widespread urban vector-borne disease. Largely urban with a tropical/subtropical distribution and vectored by a domesticated mosquito, Aedes aegypti, dengue poses a serious public health threat. Temperature plays a determinant role in dengue epidemic potential, affecting crucial parts of the mosquito and viral life cycles. The urban predilection of the mosquito species will further exacerbate the impact of global temperature change because of the urban heat island effect. Even within a city, temperatures can vary by 10 °C according to urban land use, and diurnal temperature range (DTR) can be even greater. DTR has been shown to contribute significantly to dengue epidemic potential. Unraveling the importance of within-city temperature is as important for dengue as for the negative health consequences of high temperatures that have thus far been emphasized, for example, pollution and heat stroke. Urban and landscape planning designed to mitigate the non-infectious negative effects of temperature should additionally focus on dengue, which is currently spreading worldwide with no signs of respite.