Published: August 8, 2022 4.00pm BST
Climate change can exacerbate a full 58% of the infectious diseases that humans come in contact with worldwide, from common waterborne viruses to deadly diseases like plague, our new research shows
Our team of environment and health scientists reviewed decades of scientific papers on all known pathogenic disease pathogens to create a map of the human risks aggravated by climate-related hazards.
The numbers were jarring. Of 375 human diseases, we found that 218 of them, well over half, can be affected by climate change.
Flooding, for example, can spread hepatitis. Rising temperatures can expand the life of mosquitoes carrying malaria. Droughts can bring rodents infected with hantavirus into communities as they search for food.
With climate change influencing more than 1,000 transmission pathways like those and climate hazards increasingly globally, we concluded that expecting societies to successfully adapt to all of them isn’t a realistic option. The world will need to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change to reduce these risks.
- Michael Eisenstein
- Nature 531, S61–S63 (17 March 2016) doi:10.1038/531S61a
- Published online
- 16 March 2016
The growth of slums in the developing world’s rapidly expanding cities is creating new opportunities for infectious disease to flourish and spread.
Madina market in Conakry, Guinea. Densely populated urban environments are ideal for the spread of infection.
Nature – As Lee Riley read article after article about the deadly 2014 Ebola outbreak, his frustration mounted. “I was seeing all of these newspaper reports and even scientific reports talking about this unprecedented epidemic in West Africa,” says Riley, a specialist in urban public health at the University of California, Berkeley, “and there wasn’t a single mention of the words ‘slums’ or ‘informal settlements’.”
Ebola is feared because of its high mortality and limited treatment options, but generally it has been limited to remote rural regions. The 2014 outbreak was different: flare-ups in cities such as Conakry in Guinea and Monrovia in Liberia revealed the havoc that this lethal virus could wreak in urban environments. The dense and highly mobile populations provided greater opportunities for the infection to spread. And according to Mosoka Fallah, an epidemiologist who was working with Liberia’s Ministry of Health at the front line of the Monrovia outbreak, urban slums bore the brunt. “Wherever there were big outbreaks, most people being infected were among the poor,” he says. “Those that didn’t have basic sanitation, who had the most distrust of institutions — they also had the most disease.” Tiếp tục đọc “Disease: Poverty and pathogens” →