Climate variability, social and environmental factors and Ross River virus transmission: research development and future research needs
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Background: Arbovirus diseases have emerged as a global public health concern. However, the impact of climatic, social and environmental variability on the transmission of arbovirus diseases remains to be determined. Objective: We provided an overview of research development and future research directions about the inter-relationship between climate variability, social and environmental factors and the transmission of Ross River virus (RRV) - the most common and widespread arbovirus disease in Australia. Methods: We conducted a systematic literature search on climatic, social and environmental factors and RRV disease. Potentially relevant studies were identified from a series of electronic searches. Databases searched were the MEDLINE (via EBSCOhost), Current Contents Connect (via ISI Web of Knowledge) and ScienceDirect. We critically reviewed key predictors of RRV transmission through an integration of our own research with the literature. This identified factors that could be useful in an Early Warning System. Results: The body of evidence reveals that the transmission cycles of RRV disease appeared to be sensitive to climate and tidal variability. Rainfall, temperature and high tides were among major determinants of the transmission of RRV disease at macro level. However, the nature and magnitude of the inter-relationship between climate variability, mosquito density and the transmission of RRV disease varied with geographic area and socio-environmental condition. Projected anthropogenic global climatic change may result in an increase in RRV infections. Conclusions: The analysis indicates that there is a complex relationship between climate variability, social and environmental factors and Ross River virus transmission. Different strategies should be adopted for the control and prevention of Ross River virus disease at different levels. These research findings could be used as an additional tool to support decision-making in disease control/surveillance and risk management.
Environmental Health Perspectives
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