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Limiting global-mean temperature increase to 1.5–2 °C could reduce the incidence and spatial spread of dengue fever in Latin America

Felipe J. Colón-González, Ian Harris, Timothy J. Osborn, Christine Steiner São Bernardo, Carlos A. Peres, Paul R. Hunter, Iain R. Lake

Significance. This study is a multigeneral circulation model, multiscenario modeling exercise developed to quantify the dengue-related health benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5–2.0 °C above preindustrial levels in Latin America and the Caribbean. We estimate the impact of future climate change and population growth on the additional number of dengue cases and provide insights about the regions and periods most likely affected by changes in the length of the transmission season. Here, we show that future climate change may amplify dengue transmission and that significant impacts could be avoided by constraining global warming to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels. Our work could be a starting point for future risk assessments incorporating other important drivers of disease such as urbanization and international traveling.

Abstract. The Paris Climate Agreement aims to hold global-mean temperature well below 2 °C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5 °C above preindustrial levels. While it is recognized that there are benefits for human health in limiting global warming to 1.5 °C, the magnitude with which those societal benefits will be accrued remains unquantified. Crucial to public health preparedness and response is the understanding and quantification of such impacts at different levels of warming. Using dengue in Latin America as a study case, a climate-driven dengue generalized additive mixed model was developed to predict global warming impacts using five different global circulation models, all scaled to represent multiple global-mean temperature assumptions. We show that policies to limit global warming to 2 °C could reduce dengue cases by about 2.8 (0.8–7.4) million cases per year by the end of the century compared with a no-policy scenario that warms by 3.7 °C. Limiting warming further to 1.5 °C produces an additional drop in cases of about 0.5 (0.2–1.1) million per year. Furthermore, we found that by limiting global warming we can limit the expansion of the disease toward areas where incidence is currently low. We anticipate our study to be a starting point for more comprehensive studies incorporating socioeconomic scenarios and how they may further impact dengue incidence. Our results demonstrate that although future climate change may amplify dengue transmission in the region, impacts may be avoided by constraining the level of warming.

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 115, No. 24. (12 June 2018), pp. 6243-6248, 
Key: INRMM:14603072



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