Limiting global warming could avoid millions of dengue fever cases

May 28, 2018, University of East Anglia
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C could avoid around 3.3 million cases of dengue fever per year in Latin America and the Caribbean alone—according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

A new report published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) reveals that limiting to the goal of the UN Paris Agreement would also stop spreading to areas where incidence is currently low.

A trajectory of 3.7°C could lead to an increase of up to 7.5 million additional cases per year by the middle of this century.

Dengue fever is a tropical disease caused by a virus that is spread by mosquitoes, with symptoms including fever, headache, muscle and joint pain. It is endemic to over 100 countries, and infects around 390 million people worldwide each year, with an estimated 54 million cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Because the mosquitoes that carry and transmit the virus thrive in warm and humid conditions, it is more commonly found in areas with these weather conditions. There is no specific treatment or vaccine for dengue and in rare cases it can be lethal.

Lead researcher Dr. Felipe Colón-González, from UEA's School of Environmental Sciences and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, said: "There is growing concern about the potential impacts of climate change on . While it is recognised that limiting warming to 1.5°C would have benefits for human health, the magnitude of these benefits remains mostly unquantified.

"This is the first study to show that reductions in warming from 2°C to 1.5°C could have important health benefits."

The Paris Climate Agreement aims to hold global-mean temperature well below 2°C and to pursue efforts to limit it to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels.

The team studied clinical and laboratory confirmed dengue reports in Latin America and used computer models to predict the impacts of warming under different climate scenarios.

They found that limiting global warming to 2°C could reduce dengue cases by up to 2.8 million cases per year by the end of the century compared to a scenario in which the global temperature rises by 3.7°C.

Limiting warming further to 1.5°C produces an additional drop in cases of up to half a million per year.

Southern Mexico, the Caribbean, northern Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and coastal Brazil will be most affected by increases in dengue cases.

Brazil would benefit the most from limiting warming to 1.5°C with up to half a million cases avoided per year by the 2050s and 1.4 million avoided cases per year by 2100.

The team also found that limiting global warming would also limit the expansion of the disease towards areas where incidence is currently low such as Paraguay and northern Argentina.

Co-author Dr. Iain Lake, also from UEA, added: "Understanding and quantifying the impacts of warming on human health is crucial for public health preparedness and response.

"Warming has already reached 1°C above pre-industrial levels, and the current trajectory, if countries meet their international pledges to reduce CO2, is around 3°C—so clearly a lot more needs to be done to reduce CO2 and quickly if we are to avoid these impacts."

The research was led by the University of East Anglia, UK, in collaboration with colleagues at Universidade do Estado de Mato Grosso, Brazil.

'Limiting global-mean temperature increase to 1.5-2°C could reduce the incidence and spatial spread of in Latin America' is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday, May 28, 2018.

Explore further: Limiting warming to 1.5 degree C would save majority of global species from climate change

More information: Felipe J. Colón-González el al., "Limiting global-mean temperature increase to 1.5–2 °C could reduce the incidence and spatial spread of dengue fever in Latin America," PNAS (2018). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1718945115

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8 comments

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Thorium Boy
1.4 / 5 (10) May 28, 2018
Half a million people die due to winter and cold, 40,000 in England alone each year. Most major disease outbreaks occur in cold weather. Cold equals bad.
HeloMenelo
4 / 5 (8) May 29, 2018
Wrong yet again Antigoracle sockpuppet.

Cold Equals Good ! ! not just for Humans, but for the earth itself !

Before humans existed. Global average temperatures were 10-12 °C hotter than today. Most places on land were so hot that humans would risk fatal heat stroke every summer, so having billions of people die due to heat stroke vs half a million per year.

Do the Math monkey nuts. ( O sorry, you still busy swinging the tree)
Shootist
1.5 / 5 (8) May 29, 2018
you're wrong HeloMenelo

Warmer has always been better for humans. Always. Medieval Climate Optimum. Roman Climate Optimum. compare these to the cold. Rome fell because of cold. Vikings abandoned Vinland and Greenland because of the cold. Northern Europe stopped drinking wine and switched to beer because of the cold. And it is still TOO cold today for Northern Europe to cultivate vineyards. The "optimum" climates allowed vineyards in Scotland. Try to grow wine grapes in Scotland today.
PTTG
4.3 / 5 (6) May 29, 2018
@Shootist, go to hell. You're repeating lies that have been proven wrong again and again and again.
HeloMenelo
5 / 5 (5) May 29, 2018
Clearly goes to show why shooty aka antogoracle sock muppet is better off swinging those trees, he clearly did not understand my clear statement for why Heat is worse than cold, Especially when the heating is being unnaturally sped on by pathetic FossilFuel Burning and their accompanying corrupted bureaucRats.

Keep swinging those trees, it's what you're good at.
ZoeBell
1 / 5 (3) May 29, 2018
If scientists are so interested about elimination of global warming, why they ignore cold fusion and overunity findings for whole century? Instead of actual solution of problem what we observe today is just the propaganda fight of "fossil fuel" and "renewable" lobbies.
antigoracle
1 / 5 (5) May 29, 2018
All these doom and gloom LIES from the AGW Cult, squarely directed at their ignorant Chicken Littles, who then bray like jackasses but yet continue to burn fossil fuels like there is no tomorrow.
barakn
4.4 / 5 (7) May 29, 2018
Half a million people die due to winter and cold, 40,000 in England alone each year. Most major disease outbreaks occur in cold weather. Cold equals bad. -Thorazine Boy

Over one million people die from malaria each year. Oh, that's just one tropical disease overwhelming your cold-related deaths. I wonder what the number would be if we totaled up the myriad different ways heat has of killing?

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