Climate change could threaten blood supply by altering the distribution of vector-borne disease: An Australian case-study

Hilary J. Bambrick*, Rosalie E. Woodruff, Ivan C. Hanigan

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    21 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: Climate change is expected to promote more intense and prolonged outbreaks of vector-borne disease, and alter the geographic boundaries of transmission. This has implications for the safety and supply of fresh blood products around the world. In Australia, a recent outbreak of dengue fever caused a prolonged regional shortage in the supply of fresh blood products. Objective: To highlight the potential for climate change to affect the safety and supply of blood globally through its impact on vector-borne disease, using the example of dengue in Australia as a case-study. Design: We modelled geographic regions in Australia suitable for dengue transmission over the coming century under four climate change scenarios, estimated changes to the population at risk and effect on blood supply. Results: Geographic regions with climates that are favourable to dengue transmission could expand to include large population centres in a number of currently dengue-free regions in Australia and reduce blood supply across several states. Conclusion: Unless there is strong intergovernmental action on greenhouse gas reduction, there could be an eight-fold increase in the number of people living in dengue prone regions in Australia by the end of the century. Similar impacts will be experienced elsewhere and for other vector-borne diseases, with regions currently on the margins of transmission zones most affected. Globally, climate change is likely to compound existing problems of blood safety and supply in already endemic areas and cause future shortages in fresh blood products through its impact on transmission of vector-borne disease.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number2059
    JournalGlobal Health Action
    Volume2
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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