What is it about?

Dengue, Zika and chikungunya are arboviruses which are transmitted by mosquitoes and are a particular problem in urban areas. Half of the world’s population is at risk of these viruses and the number of cases is predicted to continue increasing with climate change, population growth, urbanisation, and increased globalization. The south American country Colombia has a particularly high burden of these three viral diseases. In this study we investigated the links between climatic and socio-economic factors and burden of dengue, Zika and chikungunya in three Colombian cities. We found that temperature and wind speed were important climatic factors associated with disease incidence as they affect mosquito abundance and flight. The results also suggest that socio-economic factors including inadequate water supply and poor sanitation may also be associated with increased disease burden. Poor sanitation and inadequate water supply can increase the number of breeding sites available for the mosquito disease vector, Aedes aegypti, which has superbly adapted to live close to and within homes.

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Why is it important?

Outbreaks of dengue and chikungunya occur globally and in 2016 the Zika pandemic led to the World Health Organisation declaring it a global health emergency. Therefore, understanding climatic risk factors associated with increased incidence of arboviral diseases can be crucial in predicting future outbreaks. Predicting outbreaks before they occur enables local authorities to deploy control strategies more strategically. Identifying socio-economic variables associated with increased disease risk can also be used to distribute control resources more effectively. Once identified, these socio-economic factors also provide specific areas for improvement, such as improvements to the water supply, which are likely to have a positive influence on the burden of these viruses.

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This page is a summary of: Climatic and socio-economic factors supporting the co-circulation of dengue, Zika and chikungunya in three different ecosystems in Colombia, PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, March 2021, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0009259.
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