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Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome (SFTS) is an emerging infectious disease with increasing incidence and geographic extent. The extent to which global climate change affects the incidence of SFTS disease remains obscure. We use an integrated multi-model, multi-scenario framework to assess the impact of global climate change on SFTS disease in China. The spatial distribution of habitat suitability for the tick Haemaphysalis longicornis was predicted by applying a boosted regression tree model under four alternative climate change scenarios (RCP2.6, RCP4.5, RCP6.0, and RCP8.5) for the periods 2030-2039, 2050-2059, and 2080-2089. We incorporate the SFTS cases in the mainland of China from 2010 to 2019 with environmental variables and the projected distribution of H. longicornis into a generalized additive model to explore the current and future spatiotemporal dynamics of SFTS. Our results demonstrate an expanded geographic distribution of H. longicornis toward Northern and Northwestern China, showing a more pronounced change under the RCP8.5 scenario. In contrast, the environmental suitability of H. longicornis is predicted to be reduced in Central and Eastern China. The SFTS incidence in three time periods (2030-2039, 2050-2059, and 2080-2089) is predicted to be increased as compared to the 2010s in the context of various RCPs. A heterogeneous trend across provinces, however, was observed, when an increased incidence in Liaoning and Shandong provinces, while decreased incidence in Henan province is predicted. Notably, we predict possible outbreaks in Xinjiang and Yunnan in the future, where only sporadic cases have been reported previously. These findings highlight the need for tick control and population awareness of SFTS in endemic regions, and enhanced monitoring in potential risk areas.

Original publication




Journal article


Glob Chang Biol

Publication Date



Haemaphysalis longicornis , climate change, public health, severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome, spatiotemporal dynamic, tick-borne disease