Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Climate change and dengue: a critical and systematic review of quantitative modelling approaches

Suchithra Naish1*, Pat Dale2, John S Mackenzie3, John McBride4, Kerrie Mengersen5 and Shilu Tong1

Author Affiliations

1 School of Public Health and Social Work & Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Queensland University of Technology, Victoria Park Road, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

2 Environmental Futures Centre, Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith School of Environment Griffith University, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

3 Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, Australia

4 School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia

5 Mathematical Sciences, Statistical Science, Queensland University of Technology, George Street, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

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BMC Infectious Diseases 2014, 14:167  doi:10.1186/1471-2334-14-167

Published: 26 March 2014



Many studies have found associations between climatic conditions and dengue transmission. However, there is a debate about the future impacts of climate change on dengue transmission. This paper reviewed epidemiological evidence on the relationship between climate and dengue with a focus on quantitative methods for assessing the potential impacts of climate change on global dengue transmission.


A literature search was conducted in October 2012, using the electronic databases PubMed, Scopus, ScienceDirect, ProQuest, and Web of Science. The search focused on peer-reviewed journal articles published in English from January 1991 through October 2012.


Sixteen studies met the inclusion criteria and most studies showed that the transmission of dengue is highly sensitive to climatic conditions, especially temperature, rainfall and relative humidity. Studies on the potential impacts of climate change on dengue indicate increased climatic suitability for transmission and an expansion of the geographic regions at risk during this century. A variety of quantitative modelling approaches were used in the studies. Several key methodological issues and current knowledge gaps were identified through this review.


It is important to assemble spatio-temporal patterns of dengue transmission compatible with long-term data on climate and other socio-ecological changes and this would advance projections of dengue risks associated with climate change.

Climate; Dengue; Models; Projection; Scenarios