Friday, October 13, 2017

Climate Change May Accelerate Infectious Disease Outbreaks, Say Researchers

Study of natural disaster in Ecuador showed 12-fold increase in Zika cases.

The Aedes aegypti mosquito can transmit the Zika virus to humans. (Credit: James Gathany/Associated Press) Click to Enlarge.
Aside from inflicting devastating natural disasters on often vulnerable communities, climate change can also spur outbreaks of infectious diseases like Zika , malaria and dengue fever, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.

"Climate change presents complex and wide-reaching threats to human health," said Cecilia Sorensen, MD, lead author of the study and the Living Closer Foundation Fellow in Climate and Health Policy at CU Anschutz.  "It can amplify and unmask ecological and socio-political weaknesses and increase the risk of adverse health outcomes in socially vulnerable regions."

When natural disasters strike such places, she said, the climatic conditions may make the public health crisis significantly worse.

The researchers said these vulnerabilities can happen anywhere.  After Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, cases of West Nile disease doubled the next year.  Climate change in Africa appears to be increasing cases of malaria.  And the recent destruction in Houston, Florida, and Puerto Rico due to hurricanes may usher in more infectious diseases in the years ahead.

Read more at Climate Change May Accelerate Infectious Disease Outbreaks, Say Researchers

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