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Dengue, Weather and Urbanization in Brazil

Since two decades, the population affected by dengue disease is exponentially increasing and dengue is now affecting more than 390 million people in the world. It ranks behind malaria as the second most important vector-borne disease in the world and the first one in Latin America. Despite the important economic and social cost of the uncontrollable growth of the disease, little economic analysis has been devoted to it. In addition to weather, socio-economic factors such as urbanization and sanitary systems play an important role in the proliferation of dengue. In this paper, I measure the impact of weather and urbanization characteristics on dengue prevalence in Brazilian states during the 1992-2012 period. I find a positive effect of vapour pressure and a hump-shaped relationship between temperature and dengue. The results show that an increase in population density of 1% is likely to increase the dengue prevalence from 2.5 to 3%, on aver- age. Higher access to drinking water and waste management systems decrease dengue incidence. Using a simultaneous equation model, I measure the double causality between wages and dengue prevalence. On the one hand, results show that, on average, a 10% increase in dengue rates is associated with a 0.16% decrease of household wages. On the other hand, a lower household wage is associated with a higher dengue rate.

JEL codes: I15, O18, Q54, Q56

Keywords: Brazil, climate change, dengue, urbanization, weather.

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