Climate Change and the Risk of Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases
The emergence and re-emergence of diseases can be as a result of any of pathogen, host or environmental factors. Within the environment, climate change which is an extrinsic factor, is a major determinant. Viral, bacterial, fungal and parasitic infections have all emerged and re-emerged at one point or the other. Vector-borne diseases are more prone to the impact of climate change. This is evidenced by the spate at which malaria has decreased dramatically in the last decade or so in areas where climate change has significant effects. There is now evidence that in some areas of the world, example Horn of Africa, warm El Nino Southern Oscillations (ENSO), which are observed in the South Pacific Ocean, are associated with higher risk of emergence of Rift Valley fever, cholera and malaria and during cold La Nina events, dengue fever, chikungunya and yellow fever. This has been observed for these and other diseases in other parts of the world. Climate change can be reduced by mitigation, adaptation, geoengineering and knowledge-base-expansion. It is also essential that broad based prevention strategies, as well as new and improved countermeasures (that is, surveillance tools, diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines), be continually tested, refined and upgraded to curb the emergence and re-emergence of diseases especially those mostly impacted by climate change.
Climate Change, Risk, Emerging and Re-Emerging Diseases
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