Ross River virus (RRV) is the most common vector-borne disease in Australia. It is vitally important to make appropriate projections on the future spread of RRV under various climate change scenarios because such information is essential for policy-makers to identify vulnerable communities and to better manage RRV epidemics. However, there are many methodological challenges in projecting the impact of climate change on the transmission of RRV disease. This study critically examined the methodological issues and proposed possible solutions. A literature search was conducted between January and October 2012, using the electronic databases Medline, Web of Science and PubMed. Nineteen relevant papers were identified. These studies demonstrate that key challenges for projecting future climate change on RRV disease include: (1) a complex ecology (e.g. many mosquito vectors, immunity, heterogeneous in both time and space); (2) unclear interactions between social and environmental factors; and (3) uncertainty in climate change modelling and socioeconomic development scenarios. Future risk assessments of climate change will ultimately need to better understand the ecology of RRV disease and to integrate climate change scenarios with local socioeconomic and environmental factors, in order to develop effective adaptation strategies to prevent or reduce RRV transmission.
- Climate change
- Ross River virus