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Vector-borne diseases under climate change conditions in Africa

Guest edited by Pietro Ceccato, Mary H. Hayden, Ángel G. Muñoz and Mario-Henry Rodríguez

An article collection in Infectious Diseases of Poverty.

Vector-borne diseasesDiseases transmitted to humans by vectors (mosquitoes, flies, snails, etc) remain significant public health problems especially in Africa.  More than half of the world’s population are at risk of vector-borne diseases (VBDs). Through the years, great strides have been achieved in combating VBDs, most notably through large scale and coordinated control programs, which have contributed to the decline of the global mortality attributed to VBDs. However, the health- and socio-economic impacts of VBDs, especially among vulnerable populations, already facing the challenges of extensive poverty, fragile ecosystems, high population growth and non-existent, sub-optimal or failing health and social security systems, continue to be of grave concern. The geographic distribution of VBDs is influenced by a complex dynamic of environmental and social factors and their changing impact on the transmission and burden of VBDs through effects on their vectors, intermediate hosts and reservoirs. Current changes in the long term trends of regional weather patterns, referred to as ‘climate change’, are adding new pressures to VBDs. The impacts are anticipated to be significant, in terms of VBDs-related hazards, vulnerabilities and exposure.

This thematic series features several review articles on the subject as well as a sampling of the research outputs from the TDR-IDRC research initiative on VBDs and Climate Change which focuses on VBDs in the broader development context of human vulnerability to climate change. The overall goal of this research initiative was to support research groups in Africa to undertake research that can improve the understanding of climate change impact on population health vulnerabilities to VBDs and develop tools and strategies to increase resilience to climate change conditions in Africa.