Impact of drought on vector-borne diseases - how does one manage the risk?

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Objectives: This article aimed to review all literature on drought and vector-borne disease to enable an assessment of the possible impact of drought on the changing risk of vector-borne diseases in the UK. Study design: A systematic literature review was performed. Methods: Using a search strategy developed from a combination of terms for drought and selected outcomes, the authors systematically reviewed all available literature from 1990 to 2012 on the impact of drought on vector-borne diseases. The following databases were searched: PubMed, Web of Science, and EMBASE. After reviewing the abstracts, 38 articles were found to fit the inclusion and exclusion criteria. Results: Evidence found drought followed by re-wetting can have a substantial effect on water table levels, vegetation, and aquatic predators; all factors which influence mosquito populations. Several studies found an association between a drought during the previous year and West Nile virus incidence. Urban mosquito vectors of dengue virus and chikungunya virus are adaptable by nature and are able to exploit a multitude of additional aquatic habitats created as a response to drought (i.e. water storage containers). Tick populations are likely to be negatively affected by drought as they are dependent upon high levels of humidity and soil moisture. Conclusions: Further research is needed to identify public health interventions and environmental control measures for an invasive mosquito problem or arthropod-borne disease outbreak in the UK. © 2013 The Royal Society for Public Health.




Brown, L., Medlock, J., & Murray, V. (2014, January). Impact of drought on vector-borne diseases - how does one manage the risk? Public Health.

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