Impact of regional climate change on the mosquito vector Aedes albopictus in a tropical island environment: La Réunion

Lamy, Kevin ; Tran, A. ; Portafaix, Thierry ; Leroux, Marie-Dominique ; Baldet, T.

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<p align=justify>The recent expansion of Aedes albopictus across continents in both tropical and temperate regions and the exponential growth of dengue cases over the past 50years represent a significant risk to human health. Although climate change is not the only factor responsible for the increase and spread of dengue cases worldwide, it might increase the risk of disease transmission at global and regional scale. Here we show that regional and local variations in climate can induce differential impacts on the abundance of Ae. albopictus. We use the instructive example of Réunion Island with its varied climatic and environmental conditions and benefiting from the availability of meteorological, climatic, entomological and epidemiological data. Temperature and precipitation data based on regional climate model simulations (3km×3km) are used as inputs to a mosquito population model for three different climate emission scenarios. Our objective is to study the impact of climate change on the life cycle dynamics of Ae. albopictus in the 2070-2100 time horizon. Our results show the joint influence of temperature and precipitation on Ae. albopictus abundance as a function of elevation and geographical subregion. At low-elevations areas, decreasing precipitation is expected to have a negative impact on environmental carrying capacity and, consequently, on Ae. albopictus abundance. At mid- and high-elevations, decreasing precipitation is expected to be counterbalanced by a significant warming, leading to faster development rates at all life stages, and consequently increasing the abundance of this important dengue vector in 2070-2100.</p>
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