Climate Change and Disease

One of the ‘silent killers’ of climate change, the spread of infectious diseases due to climate-related phenomena poses a considerable threat over the coming decades. Many studies suggest that the increased migration of disease-carrying species will be primarily to blame, as the expansion of temperate regions invites these species, such as mosquitoes and ticks, to breed there. But other factors play a role too. As researcher Paul R. Epstein has argued, “Weather and climate can influence host defences, vectors, pathogens, and habitat.” Combined with the impacts that climate change will place on infrastructure, health, and emergency resources, it is clear even now that the ability of local communities to withstand the incursion of new diseases will be severely tested. The early monitoring and surveillance of the spread of disease can help local communities prepare for these impacts, but much more adaptation work in the meantime is clearly necessary.

See also: Heat Waves, Disaster Preparedness

Further Resources

Paul R. Epstein: “Climate Change and Infectious Disease: Stormy Weather Ahead?”

The Wildlife Conservation Society: The Deadly Dozen

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control: “Climate Change and Water-borne Diseases”

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