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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, with Brazil representing 70\% of the Latin American cases. 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 chapter, I measure the impact of weather and urbanization characteristics on dengue prevalence in Brazilian states during the 1992-2012 period. A similar analysis is done with more restricted data at the municipality level for the 2001-2012 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 average. Higher access to drinking water and waste management systems decrease dengue incidence. Additionally, higher immigration rates coming from states with high dengue incidence, increase the dengue prevalence in the destination state. These results are robust to potential over- and under-reporting of dengue cases. Using a simultaneous equation model, I measure the double causality between state average wage income 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 wage income. On the other hand, lower average household wage income is associated with a higher dengue rate.

JEL codes: I15, O18, Q54, Q56

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

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