Abstract

One of the main impacts of climate change on health is the influence on vector-borne diseases (VBDs). During the last few years, yearly outbreaks of the West Nile virus (WNV) have occurred in many locations, providing evidence of ongoing transmission. Currently, it is the most widely distributed arbovirus in the world. Increases in ambient temperature have impacts on WNV transmission. Indeed, clear associations were found between warm conditions and WNV outbreaks in various areas. The impact of changes in rainfall patterns on the incidence of the disease is influenced by the amount of precipitation (increased rainfall, floods or droughts), depending on the local conditions and the differences in the ecology and sensitivity of the species of mosquito. Predictions indicate that for WNV, increased warming will result in latitudinal and altitudinal expansions of regions climatically suitable for transmission, particularly along the current edges of its transmission areas. Extension of the transmission season is also predicted. As models show that the current climate change trends are expected to continue, it is important to reinforce WNV control efforts and increase the resilience of population health. For a better preparedness, any assessment of future transmission of WNV should consider the impacts of the changing climate.

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