Submitted to: Journal of Medical Entomology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the USDA, ARS developed computer models that were originally designed to help scientists study and public health workers to control an increasingly widespread human disease transmitted by mosquitoes, Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF). This illness, mostly affecting children, is considered the most important insect-borne viral disease of man. The models are now being used for a new purpose, to predict the consequences to human health of anticipated changes in the world's climate. Researchers who study climate believe that global temperatures will rise between 1.0 and 3.5 degree C (about 2 to 6 degree F) during the next century. Scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the World Health Organization have concluded that the most serious health consequence will be an increase in diseases transmitted between people by the bite of insects, diseases like DHF. This article describes a cooperative effort between the Universities of Florida and Delaware and the USDA to improve technical details within the Dengue computer models regarding temperature. The improvements will make the models more accurate for use in proposed climate change studies with the USDA and Environmental Protection Agency.
Technical Abstract: Two new approaches have been developed to estimate water temperatures and water heights in containers which are commonly used as breeding sites for mosquitoes which are the primary vectors of dengue fever. These estimates are used in a recently-developed stochastic simulation models used to describe the daily dynamics of dengue virus transmission in the urban environment. The water temperature estimates are provided through a regression model which includes meteorological variables not previously used; results show that they are significantly better than those used in previous dengue transmission models. The water height models use a climatic water budget approach which estimates moisture storage within containers. These model are less precise than those developed for water temperature, but results are nevertheless superior to those used in previous models. The application of the new approaches should improve on estimates of the impact of weather on the dengue vectors.