Both the number of cases of dengue fever and the areas of outbreaks within Nepal have increased significantly in recent years. Further expansion and range shift is expected in the future due to global climate change and other associated factors. However, due to limited spatially-explicit research in Nepal, there is poor understanding about the present spatial distribution patterns of dengue risk areas and the potential range shift due to future climate change. In this context, it is crucial to assess and map dengue fever risk areas in Nepal. Here, we used reported dengue cases and a set of bioclimatic variables on the MaxEnt ecological niche modeling approach to model the climatic niche and map present and future (2050s and 2070s) climatically suitable areas under different representative concentration pathways (RCP2.6, RCP6.0 and RCP8.5). Simulation-based estimates suggest that climatically suitable areas for dengue fever are presently distributed throughout the lowland Tarai from east to west and in river valleys at lower elevations. Under the different climate change scenarios, these areas will be slightly shifted towards higher elevation with varied magnitude and spatial patterns. Population exposed to climatically suitable areas of dengue fever in Nepal is anticipated to further increase in both 2050s and 2070s on all the assumed emission scenarios. These findings could be instrumental to plan and execute the strategic interventions for controlling dengue fever in Nepal.
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