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UCL Division of Biosciences

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New paper by CBER Student Lydia Franklinos on the Impact of Global Change on Mosquito-borne disease

2 July 2019

Given the increasing rate of anthropogenic global change, it is imperative that the drivers behind infectious disease emergence are better understood to safeguard future global health.  

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Vector-borne diseases account for a large proportion of the global burden of infectious disease, with over  80% of the global population at risk. Diseases transmitted by mosquito vectors such as malaria and dengue, are the largest contributor to human vector-borne disease burden. Although many global processes, such as land-use and socioeconomic change, are thought to affect mosquito-borne disease dynamics, research to date has strongly focused on the role of climate change.

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Given the increasing rate of anthropogenic global change, it is imperative that the drivers behind infectious disease emergence are better understood to safeguard future global health.  Vector-borne diseases account for a large proportion of the global burden of infectious disease, with over  80% of the global population at risk. Diseases transmitted by mosquito vectors such as malaria and dengue, are the largest contributor to human vector-borne disease burden. Although many global processes, such as land-use and socioeconomic change, are thought to affect mosquito-borne disease dynamics, research to date has strongly focused on the role of climate change. 

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Our review addresses the relative impact of these drivers on recent changes to patterns of mosquito-borne disease risk, including critically assessing the role of climate change effects. We show through a review of contemporary modelling studies, that no consensus on how future changes in climatic conditions will impact mosquito-borne diseases exists, possibly due to interacting effects of other global change processes, which are often excluded from analyses. Our study supports the view that future research should not focus solely on the role of climate change but instead consider growing evidence for additional factors that modulate disease risk. Furthermore, new technologies, including developments in remote sensing and system dynamics modelling techniques can be used to enable a better understanding and mitigation of mosquito-borne diseases in a changing world.

The Impact of Global Change on Mosquito-borne Disease