Emerging arboviruses in the urbanized Amazon rainforest


The rapidly changing fate of the Amazon, an ecosystem we all depend on, has been highlighted by rampant wildfires, extreme droughts, and deforestation in recent years. For indigenous communities, land is sacred and typically is used for sustainable subsistence. But these communities are increasingly threatened by illegal mining, livestock, and monoculture practices. Brazilian satellite images show 64% more deforestation in 2020 than in 2019. This promotes conflict and environmental degradation, exacerbates health risks for indigenous populations, and leads to loss of ecosystem at local, regional, and global scales. The Amazon region is at a critical moment of history. Action to protect the health and wellbeing of traditional communities, promote sustainable development, and protect forest habitat will not come from governments. How can the medical, public health, environmental, and policy communities engage effectively to tackle such a complex challenge? We consider this question with a focus on arboviruses, including dengue, chikungunya, and Zika. The emergence and expansion of these arboviral diseases is an important global threat. They are transmitted to humans by females of two resilient mosquitoes, Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. These vectors’ geographical ranges have been expanding latitudinally and into the Amazon region, enabled by climate change and their adaptation to humans’ domestic environment.

Publication Type
Journal Article
Rachel Lowe, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Sophie Lee
Raquel Martins Lana
Cláudia Torres Codeço
Marcia C. Castro
Mercedes Pascual, University of Chicago

Related Content