Infectious diseases


Environmental change and globalisation are creating new opportunities for the spread of vector-borne diseases, especially those transmitted by mosquitoes. The incidence of dengue, a viral infection transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquitoes, has increased dramatically over the last 50 years and half of the world's population is now at risk of infection.

Aedes mosquitoes thrive in warm and humid conditions and rainfall increases the number of outdoor breeding sites. Warming temperatures and changes in atmospheric circulation patterns have led to more favourable conditions for the transmission of dengue and other viruses, including chikungunya and Zika. Population growth and international travel allow humans to carry the disease to new areas worldwide.

Climatic events, such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts, are also affecting the timing and intensity of disease outbreaks.

Our researchers investigate the impact of environmental change on infectious diseases. We focus on characterising the complex relationships between climate, the environment, and infectious disease at various spatial and temporal scales. We are developing predictive models to inform early warning systems and estimate future infectious disease burdens under projected scenarios.

Our work

Current projects

  • Royal Society / GCRF funded project investigating the impact of environmental change on vector-borne diseases

  • UK Space Agency funded project on integrated dengue early warning systems driven by earth observations in Vietnam

  • Royal Society funded project on the role of climate, cities and connectivity in the spread of vector-borne diseases in Brazil

  • Working with WHO to develop an online course on climate-informed decision support tools for public health, including case studies on designing, evaluating and implementing climate-informed dengue early warning systems