Background: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusions: 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.