Dengue is the second most important vector-borne disease of humans globally after malaria. Incidence of dengue infections has dramatically increased recently, potentially due to changing climate. Climate projections models predict increases in average annual temperature, precipitation and extreme events in the future. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of changing climate on distribution of dengue vectors in relation to epidemic risk areas in Tanzania.
We used ecological niche models that incorporated presence-only infected Aedes aegypti data co-occurrence with dengue virus to estimate potential distribution of epidemic risk areas. Model input data on infected Ae. aegypti was collected during the May to June 2014 epidemic in Dar es Salaam. Bioclimatic predictors for current and future projections were also used as model inputs. Model predictions indicated that habitat suitability for infected Ae. aegypti co-occurrence with dengue virus in current scenarios is highly localized in the coastal areas, including Dar es Salaam, Pwani, Morogoro, Tanga and Zanzibar. Models indicate that areas of Kigoma, Ruvuma, Lindi, and those around Lake Victoria are also at risk. Projecting to 2020, we show that risk emerges in Mara, Arusha, Kagera and Manyara regions, but disappears in parts of Morogoro, Ruvuma and near Lake Nyasa. In 2050 climate scenario, the predicted habitat suitability of infected Ae. aegypti co-occurrence with dengue shifted towards the central and north-eastern parts with intensification in areas around all major lakes. Generally, model findings indicated that the coastal regions would remain at high risk for dengue epidemic through 2050.
Models incorporating climate change scenarios to predict emerging risk areas for dengue epidemics in Tanzania show that the anticipated risk is immense and results help guiding public health policy decisions on surveillance and control of dengue epidemics. A collaborative approach is recommended to develop and adapt control and prevention strategies.
More details about this article can be found here https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0162649