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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Mosquito and Fly Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #314181

Research Project: Biting Arthropod Surveillance and Control

Location: Mosquito and Fly Research

Title: Climate teleconnections, weather extremes, and vector-borne disease outbreaks

Author
item Linthicum, Kenneth - Ken
item Anyamba, Assaf - Goddard Space Flight Center
item Britch, Seth
item Small, Jennifer - Goddard Space Flight Center
item Tucker, Compton - Goddard Space Flight Center

Submitted to: Institute of Medicine
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2015
Publication Date: 4/5/2016
Citation: Linthicum, K., Anyamba, A., Britch, S.C., Small, J.L., Tucker, C.J. 2016. Climate teleconnections, weather extremes, and vector-borne disease outbreaks. Institute of Medicine. pgs. A7-1-A7-18. Available at: doi:10.17226/21792.

Interpretive Summary: Climate fluctuations lead to extremes in temperature, rainfall, flooding and droughts. These climate extremes can lead to increased occurrences of human and animal diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes. The El Niño climate phenomenon can produce extreme climates in various parts of the world. We describe how 2 emerging mosquito transmitted diseases, Rift Valley fever and chikungunya, are impacted by extreme climate. Next we describe extreme weather events that occurred in 2010-2012 and how these events impacted several vector-borne diseases in the Unites States, Russia, East Africa, Southern Africa and Australia. Finally we describe how developing El Niño conditions in the winter of 2014 and spring of 2015 could influence disease transmission.

Technical Abstract: Fluctuations in climate lead to extremes in temperature, rainfall, flooding, and droughts. These climate extremes create ideal ecological conditions that promote mosquito-borne disease transmission that impact global human and animal health. One well known driver of such global scale climate fluctuations is the El Niño/Southern Oscillations (ENSO) phenomenon that is exemplified by periodic extreme warming and cooling of the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean with attendant consequences on precipitation and temperature worldwide especially across the global tropics. In this paper we show that outbreaks of Rift Valley fever and chikungunya, two important emerging mosquito-borne diseases, are coupled to specific climate anomaly patterns. Next we describe significant worldwide weather anomalies that impacted vector-borne disease outbreaks during the 2010–2012 period. Utilizing 2000–2012 vegetation index (NDVI) and land surface temperature (LST) data from NASA’s satellite-based Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) we map the magnitude and extent of these weather anomalies for diverse regions including the continental United States, Russia, East Africa, Southern Africa, and Australia, and we demonstrate that shifts in temperature and/or precipitation have significant impacts on ecology patterns with attendant consequences for public health. Weather extremes resulted in excessive rainfall and flooding as well as severe drought which created exceptional conditions for extensive mosquito-borne disease outbreaks of Rift Valley fever, Murray Valley encephalitis, dengue, West Nile virus disease, and air pollution associated with extensive fires and high temperatures. Finally we describe climate teleconnections between several vector-borne, rodent-borne, and environmentally-linked diseases, and describe how risks may develop if El Niño conditions develop in the winter of 2014 and spring of 2015.