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Design a methodological framework for the quantification of the potential impacts of climate change on dengue incidence in Latin America

There is an increasing demand from the public health sector for improved access to regional predictions of the burden of vector-borne diseases which are needed to understand and manage health risks, and to prepare for the potential changes in burden due to climate change. Quantifying the potential impacts of climate change on such diseases is crucial from a public health and planning perspective. Most research, however, focuses on the potential effects of climate change on malaria.

Dengue is most rapidly spreading vector-borne viral disease in the world, and it is endemic to over 100 countries. Currently, Latin America is the region with the highest dengue burden. Recent estimates suggest that every year, about 54 million cases occur in the region (Bhatt S, et al., 2013). Research indicates that limit global warming to 2°C could reduce dengue cases by almost three million cases per year towards the end of the century compared with a scenario where mean global temperature warms by 3.7°C (Colón-González et al., 2018). Moreover, limiting warming to about 1.5 °C would generate an additional annual drop in cases of about 0.5 million. Whilst several studies have quantified the potential impact of climate change on dengue in the region, most studies have focused on the climate suitability for the vector rather than on the suitability for disease transmission. Moreover, the interaction between representative concentration pathways (RCP) and shared socioeconomic pathways (SSP), and the effect of important factors such as population density and land-use change have been seldom explored.

This PhD aims to design a methodological framework for the quantification of the potential impacts of climate change on dengue incidence in Latin America considering the effects of vector-distribution, land-use change, and population density under a suite of scenarios based on the interactions between RCP and SSP. Latin America has been selected because it is currently the region of the world with the largest dengue burden. Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico will be used as study cases because they are three the countries with the largest dengue incidence in Latin America. They are also three of the countries with some of the longest publicly available records of dengue incidence in the region at the municipal level (Brazil: 2001-2017; Colombia: 2007-2018; Mexico: 2000-2019).

The project benefits from the use of state-of-the-art statistical methods, and the use of one of the longest sets of municipal dengue case time-series assembled for any country in the region. The student will be exposed to cutting-edge statistical methods on climate and health, and to epidemiological research design. As a member of the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases (CMMID), the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health (CCCPH), and the Planetary Health and Infectious Diseases group (PHID). The student will have access to world-class training and research environment to develop high-level research and quantitative skills.

PhD position
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Closing date
January 15th, 2021
Posted on
November 26th, 2020 16:02
Last updated
November 26th, 2020 16:02