Projecting the future of dengue under climate change scenarios: Progress, uncertainties and research needs

Zhiwei Xu, Hilary Bambrick, Francesca D. Frentiu, Gregor Devine, Laith Yakob, Gail Williams, Wenbiao Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Background Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease and its transmission is closely linked to climate. We aimed to review available information on the projection of dengue in the future under climate change scenarios. Methods Using five databases (PubMed, ProQuest, ScienceDirect, Scopus and Web of Science), a systematic review was conducted to retrieve all articles from database inception to 30th June 2019 which projected the future of dengue under climate change scenarios. In this review, “the future of dengue” refers to disease burden of dengue, epidemic potential of dengue cases, geographical distribution of dengue cases, and population exposed to climatically suitable areas of dengue. Results Sixteen studies fulfilled the inclusion criteria, and five of them projected a global dengue future. Most studies reported an increase in disease burden, a wider spatial distribution of dengue cases or more people exposed to climatically suitable areas of dengue as climate change proceeds. The years 1961–1990 and 2050 were the most commonly used baseline and projection periods, respectively. Multiple climate change scenarios introduced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including B1, A1B, and A2, as well as Representative Concentration Pathway 2.6 (RCP2.6), RCP4.5, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5, were most widely employed. Instead of projecting the future number of dengue cases, there is a growing consensus on using “population exposed to climatically suitable areas for dengue” or “epidemic potential of dengue cases” as the outcome variable. Future studies exploring non-climatic drivers which determine the presence/absence of dengue vectors, and identifying the pivotal factors triggering the transmission of dengue in those climatically suitable areas would help yield a more accurate projection for dengue in the future. Conclusions Projecting the future of dengue requires a systematic consideration of assumptions and uncertainties, which will facilitate the development of tailored climate change adaptation strategies to manage dengue.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0008118
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes


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