Different responses of dengue to weather variability across climate zones in Queensland, Australia

Rokeya Akter*, Wenbiao Hu, Michelle Gatton, Hilary Bambrick, Suchithra Naish, Shilu Tong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Dengue is a significant public health concern in northern Queensland, Australia. This study compared the epidemic features of dengue transmission among different climate zones and explored the threshold of weather variability for climate zones in relation to dengue in Queensland, Australia. Methods: Daily data on dengue cases and weather variables including minimum temperature, maximum temperature and rainfall for the period of January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2015 were obtained from Queensland Health and Australian Bureau of Meteorology, respectively. Climate zones shape file for Australia was also obtained from Australian Bureau of Meteorology. Kruskal-Wallis test was performed to check whether the distribution of dengue significantly differed between climate zones. Time series regression tree model was used to estimate the threshold effects of the monthly weather variables on dengue in different climate zones. Results: During the study period, the highest dengue incidence rate was found in the tropical climate zone (15.09/10,000) with the second highest in the grassland climate zone (3.49/10,000). Dengue responded differently to weather variability in different climate zones. In every climate zone, temperature was the primary predictor of dengue. However, the threshold values, type of temperature (e.g. maximum, minimum, or mean), and lag time for dengue varied between climate zones. Monthly mean temperature above 27°C at a lag of two months and monthly minimum temperature above 22°C at a lag of one month was found to be the most favourable weather condition for dengue in the tropical and subtropical climate zone, respectively. However, in the grassland climate zone, maximum temperature above 38°C at a lag of five months was found to be the ideal condition for dengue. Monthly rainfall with threshold value of 1.7 mm was found to be a significant contributor to dengue only in the tropical climate zone. Conclusions: The temperature threshold for dengue was lower in both tropical and subtropical climate zones than in the grassland climate zone. The different temperature threshold between climate zones suggests that an early warning system would need to be developed based on local socio-ecological conditions of the climate zone to manage dengue control and intervention programs effectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109222
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2020
Externally publishedYes


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