Chikungunya, Climate Change, and Human Rights
Chikungunya is a re-emerging arbovirus that causes significant morbidity and some mortality. Global climate change leading to warmer temperatures and changes in rainfall patterns allow mosquito vectors to thrive at altitudes and at locations where they previously have not, ultimately leading to a spread of mosquito-borne diseases. While mutations to the chikungunya virus are responsible for some portion of the re-emergence, chikungunya epidemiology is closely tied with weather patterns in Southeast Asia. Extrapolation of this regional pattern, combined with known climate factors impacting the spread of malaria and dengue, summate to a dark picture of climate change and the spread of this disease from south Asia and Africa into Europe and North America. This review describes chikungunya and collates current data regarding its spread in which climate change plays an important part. We also examine human rights obligations of States and others to protect against this disease.