Global Warming and Dengue Fever in Australia
Russell, R.C., Currie, B.J., Lindsay, M.D., Mackenzie, J.S., Ritchie, S.A. and Whelan, P.I. 2009. Dengue and climate change in Australia: predictions for the future should incorporate knowledge from the past. Medical Journal of Australia 190: 265-268.
The six scientists determined that the dengue vector (the Aedes aegypti mosquito) "was previously common in parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales," and that it had, "in the past, covered most of the climatic range theoretically available to it," adding that "the distribution of local dengue transmission has [historically] nearly matched the geographic limits of the vector." This being the case, they conclude that the vector's current absence from much of Australia "is not because of a lack of a favorable climate." Thus, they reason that "a temperature rise of a few degrees is not alone likely to be responsible for substantial increases in the southern distribution of A. aegypti or dengue, as has been recently proposed." Instead, they remind everyone that "dengue activity is increasing in many parts of the tropical and subtropical world as a result of rapid urbanization in developing countries and increased international travel, which distributes the viruses between countries." Rather than futile attempts to limit dengue transmission by controlling the world's climate, therefore, the medical researchers recommend that "well resourced and functioning surveillance programs, and effective public health intervention capabilities, are essential to counter threats from dengue and other mosquito-borne diseases."