Rachel Lowe

Barcelona Supercomputing Center - Centro Nacional de Supercomputación

The burden of dengue, a mosquito-borne viral disease, is rapidly growing worldwide, due to a combination of factors including climate change, rapid urbanisation and increasing human mobility. However, our understanding is limited on how these factors interact to shape dengue transmission and emergence patterns locally, where outbreak surveillance and control activities can be most effectively implemented. A recent study investigated the interacting effects of climatic and socio-environmental drivers on dengue incidence and emergence in Vietnam, where dengue is a major public health issue. Using 23 years of district-level case data spanning a period of significant socioeconomic change (1998-2020), the study provided evidence that climate change and mobility are contributing to the expansion of dengue throughout Vietnam, including in the country’s northern and higher-altitude regions. The study found that specific urban characteristics such as water and sanitation infrastructure are the main factors shaping dengue risk over space. This work challenges the assumption that dengue is an urban disease, instead suggesting that incidence peaks in transitional landscapes with intermediate infrastructure provision. The study also provides evidence that improving water supply will be important in building resilience to the impacts of climate change on dengue and other emerging mosquito-borne diseases.

Another related paper investigated how the recent global expansion of dengue has been facilitated by changes in urbanisation, mobility, and climate change across South East Asia. In the study, the authors project future changes in dengue incidence and case burden until the end of the century under the latest climate change scenarios, with a peak in dengue incidence expected by 2050, particularly in areas with low population density. Further work to forecast dengue in Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka is ongoing as part of the European Horizon-funded E4Warning project.