Research Topic

Climate Change, Extreme Weather, and Vector-Borne Diseases: Spatial and Temporal Risks

About this Research Topic

Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses (or zoonotic diseases) caused by parasites, viruses, and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors, which include mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. The World Health Organization estimates that vector-borne diseases account for one-sixth of the illness and disability suffered worldwide, with more than 50% of the global population at risk of vector-borne disease. Major vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika virus disease, are thought to be increased substantially in incidence and geographical distribution globally under climate change, with diseases emerging in new areas and resurgent in regions which are at low transmission risk or where they previously had been eradicated.

Climate change can affect vector-borne diseases through multiple pathways, including direct effects on the disease vector, the pathogen (parasite, virus, or bacteria), and hosts (both human or non-human hosts). Because arthropods and other vectors are temperature sensitive, it is expected that vector survival probability and reproductive rates, vector activity, and biting rates will increase with increasing temperature, and thereby increasing the transmission risk. Rainfall provides suitable habitats with sufficient static surface water for mosquito oviposition and larval and pupal development. Therefore, increased rainfall could provide more vector breeding sites and thus are generally associated with higher vector-borne disease infection risk. However, some evidence suggested that extreme low and high temperatures may increase the mortality rates of disease vectors, and thus decreasing the transmission risk. Heavy rainfall may flush out eggs, larvae, and pupae, and destroy habitats of disease vectors.

To date, most research has focused on associations between climate variability (changes in daily or monthly temperature and precipitation) and temporal dynamics of vector-borne diseases transmission risks, while the potential impacts of extreme weather events (heat waves, cold spells, heavy rainfall, floods, and droughts) and their interactions with climate variability have not been well understood. In this Research Topic, we welcome papers that provide novel ideas and empirical results on how climate variability and extreme weathers, as well as their interactions, can affect the spatial and temporal dynamics of vector-borne diseases. We are particularly interested in methodological and empirical contributions that demonstrate how improved understanding of the mechanisms of climate variability and extreme weathers on vector-borne diseases in the climate change context.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• New methods (mathematical, statistical, and machine learning) and techniques for vector-borne disease transmission risk assessment
• Non-linear and lagged effects of extreme weather events
• Interactions between climate variability, climate change, and extreme weathers
• Risk mapping methods and applications
• Current and future geographical distribution of major disease vectors and vector-borne diseases under climate change and with respect to different socioeconomic scenarios


Keywords: Climate change, Vector-borne diseases, Impact assessment modeling, Risk mapping, Spatio-temporal modelling


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Vector-borne diseases are human illnesses (or zoonotic diseases) caused by parasites, viruses, and bacteria that are transmitted by vectors, which include mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. The World Health Organization estimates that vector-borne diseases account for one-sixth of the illness and disability suffered worldwide, with more than 50% of the global population at risk of vector-borne disease. Major vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue, chikungunya, yellow fever, and Zika virus disease, are thought to be increased substantially in incidence and geographical distribution globally under climate change, with diseases emerging in new areas and resurgent in regions which are at low transmission risk or where they previously had been eradicated.

Climate change can affect vector-borne diseases through multiple pathways, including direct effects on the disease vector, the pathogen (parasite, virus, or bacteria), and hosts (both human or non-human hosts). Because arthropods and other vectors are temperature sensitive, it is expected that vector survival probability and reproductive rates, vector activity, and biting rates will increase with increasing temperature, and thereby increasing the transmission risk. Rainfall provides suitable habitats with sufficient static surface water for mosquito oviposition and larval and pupal development. Therefore, increased rainfall could provide more vector breeding sites and thus are generally associated with higher vector-borne disease infection risk. However, some evidence suggested that extreme low and high temperatures may increase the mortality rates of disease vectors, and thus decreasing the transmission risk. Heavy rainfall may flush out eggs, larvae, and pupae, and destroy habitats of disease vectors.

To date, most research has focused on associations between climate variability (changes in daily or monthly temperature and precipitation) and temporal dynamics of vector-borne diseases transmission risks, while the potential impacts of extreme weather events (heat waves, cold spells, heavy rainfall, floods, and droughts) and their interactions with climate variability have not been well understood. In this Research Topic, we welcome papers that provide novel ideas and empirical results on how climate variability and extreme weathers, as well as their interactions, can affect the spatial and temporal dynamics of vector-borne diseases. We are particularly interested in methodological and empirical contributions that demonstrate how improved understanding of the mechanisms of climate variability and extreme weathers on vector-borne diseases in the climate change context.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• New methods (mathematical, statistical, and machine learning) and techniques for vector-borne disease transmission risk assessment
• Non-linear and lagged effects of extreme weather events
• Interactions between climate variability, climate change, and extreme weathers
• Risk mapping methods and applications
• Current and future geographical distribution of major disease vectors and vector-borne diseases under climate change and with respect to different socioeconomic scenarios


Keywords: Climate change, Vector-borne diseases, Impact assessment modeling, Risk mapping, Spatio-temporal modelling


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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Submission Deadlines

11 January 2021 Abstract
11 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

11 January 2021 Abstract
11 July 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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