Bionomic response of Aedes aegypti to two future climate change scenarios in far north Queensland, Australia: Implications for dengue outbreaks

Craig R. Williams, Gina Mincham, Scott A. Ritchie, Elvina Viennet, David Harley

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dengue viruses are transmitted by anthropophilic mosquitoes and infect approximately 50 million humans annually. To investigate impacts of future climate change on dengue virus transmission, we investigated bionomics of the mosquito vector, Aedes aegypti. Methods: Using a dynamic life table simulation model (the Container inhabiting mosquito simulation CIMSiM) and statistically downscaled daily values for future climate, we assessed climate change induced changes to mosquito bionomics. Simulations of Ae. aegypti populations for current (1991-2011) and future climate (2046-2065) were conducted for the city of Cairns, Queensland, the population centre with most dengue virus transmission in Australia. Female mosquito abundance, wet weight, and the extrinsic incubation period for dengue virus in these mosquitoes were estimated for current and future climate (MPI ECHAM 5 model, B1 and A2 emission scenarios). Results: Overall mosquito abundance is predicted to change, but results were equivocal for different climate change scenarios. Aedes aegypti abundance is predicted to increase under the B1, but decrease under the A2 scenario. Mosquitoes are predicted to have a smaller body mass in a future climate. Shorter extrinsic incubation periods are projected. Conclusions: It is therefore unclear whether dengue risk would increase or decrease in tropical Australia with climate change. Our findings challenge the prevailing view that a future, warmer climate will lead to larger mosquito populations and a definite increase in dengue transmission. Whilst general predictions can be made about future mosquito borne disease incidence, cautious interpretation is necessary due to interaction between local environment, human behaviour and built environment, dengue virus, and vectors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number447
JournalParasites and Vectors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 19 Sept 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases

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