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Distribution Expansion of Dengue Vectors and Climate Change in India
  • Syed Shah Areeb Hussain,
  • Ramesh C. Dhiman
Syed Shah Areeb Hussain
Sr. Project Associate, Sr. Project Associate, ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research
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Ramesh C. Dhiman
ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research, ICMR-National Institute of Malaria Research

Corresponding Author:r.c.dhiman@gmail.com

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India has witnessed a five-fold increase in dengue incidence in the past decade. However, the nation-wide distribution of dengue vectors, and the impacts of climate change are not known. In this study, species distribution modelling was used to predict the baseline and future distribution of Aedine vectors in India on the basis of biologically relevant climatic indicators. Known occurrences of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus were obtained from the Global Biodiversity Information Facility database and previous literature. Bio-climatic variables were used as the potential predictors of vector distribution. After eliminating collinear and low contributing predictors, the baseline and future prevalence of Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus was determined, under three Representative Concentration Pathway scenarios (RCP 2.6, RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5), using the MaxEnt species distribution model. Aedes aegypti was found prevalent in most parts of the southern peninsula, the eastern coastline, north eastern states and the northern plains. In contrast, Aedes albopictus has localized distribution along the eastern and western coastlines, north eastern states and in the lower Himalayas. Under future scenarios of climate change, Aedes aegypti is projected to expand into unsuitable regions of the Thar desert, whereas Aedes albopictus is projected to expand to the upper and trans Himalaya regions of the north. Overall, the results provide a reliable assessment of vectors prevalence in most parts of the country that can be used to guide surveillance efforts, despite minor disagreements with dengue incidence in Rajasthan and the north east, possibly due to behavioural practices and sampling efforts.
Jun 2022Published in GeoHealth volume 6 issue 6. 10.1029/2021GH000477