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Clin Microbiol Rev. 2004 Jan;17(1):136-73.

Global change and human vulnerability to vector-borne diseases.

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  • 1CSIRO Entomology, Indooroopilly, Queensland, Australia 4068.


Global change includes climate change and climate variability, land use, water storage and irrigation, human population growth and urbanization, trade and travel, and chemical pollution. Impacts on vector-borne diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, infections by other arboviruses, schistosomiasis, trypanosomiasis, onchocerciasis, and leishmaniasis are reviewed. While climate change is global in nature and poses unknown future risks to humans and natural ecosystems, other local changes are occurring more rapidly on a global scale and are having significant effects on vector-borne diseases. History is invaluable as a pointer to future risks, but direct extrapolation is no longer possible because the climate is changing. Researchers are therefore embracing computer simulation models and global change scenarios to explore the risks. Credible ranking of the extent to which different vector-borne diseases will be affected awaits a rigorous analysis. Adaptation to the changes is threatened by the ongoing loss of drugs and pesticides due to the selection of resistant strains of pathogens and vectors. The vulnerability of communities to the changes in impacts depends on their adaptive capacity, which requires both appropriate technology and responsive public health systems. The availability of resources in turn depends on social stability, economic wealth, and priority allocation of resources to public health.

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