Mapping Climate Change Vulnerabilities to Infectious Diseases in Europe

By Semenza, Jan C.; Suk, Jonathan E. et al. | Environmental Health Perspectives, March 2012 | Go to article overview

Mapping Climate Change Vulnerabilities to Infectious Diseases in Europe


Semenza, Jan C., Suk, Jonathan E., Estevez, Virginia, Ebi, Kristie L., Lindgren, Elisabet, Environmental Health Perspectives


Background: The incidence, outbreak frequency, and distribution of many infectious diseases are generally expected to change as a consequence of climate change, yet there is limited regional information available to guide decision making.

OBJECTIVE: We surveyed government officials designated as Competent Bodies for Scientific Advice concerning infectious diseases to examine the degree to which they are concerned about potential effects of climate change on infectious diseases, as well as their perceptions of institutional capacities in their respective countries.

Methods: In 2007 and 2009/2010, national infectious disease experts from 30 European Economic Area countries were surveyed about recent and projected infectious disease patterns in relation to climate Change in their countries and the national capacity to cope with them.

Results: A large majority of respondents agreed that climate change would affect vector-borne (86% of country representatives), food-borne (70%), water-borne (68%), and rodent-borne (68%) Diseases in their countries. In addition, most indicated that institutional improvements are needed for ongoing surveillance programs (83%), collaboration with the veterinary sector (69%), management of animal disease outbreaks (66%), national monitoring and control of climate-sensitive infectious diseases (64%), health services during an infectious disease outbreak (61%), and diagnostic support during an epidemic (54%).

Conclusions: Expert responses were generally consistent with the peer-reviewed literature regarding the relationship between climate change and vector- and water-borne diseases, but were less so for food-borne diseases. Shortcomings in institutional capacity to manage climate change vulnerability, identified in this assessment, should be addressed in impact, vulnerability, and adaptation assessments.

KEY WORDS: adaptation, climate change, infectious diseases, surveillance, vulnerability. Environ Health Perspect 120:385-392 (2012). http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1103805 [Online 23 November 2011]

Europe will experience differential impacts from climate change (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2007). Differences in geographic, ecological, demographic, and socioeconomic conditions affect the region's differences in vulnerability to changing environmental and climatic conditions. Projections of annual average temperature and mean precipitation predict significant changes overall, with disproportionally warmer winters in the north and warmer summers in the south (Giorgi et al. 2004). Ambient temperature and precipitation patterns influence food- and water-borne diseases through effects on environmental exposure pathways (Semenza et al. 201 la, 2011b). In addition, changes in seasonal precipitation and temperature influence vector-borne diseases through a) effects on vector survival, reproduction rates, habitat suitability, distribution, and abundance; b) the intensity and temporal pattern of vector activity (particularly biting rates); and c) rates of pathogen development, survival, and reproduction within vectors (Semenza and Menne 2009). Thus, projected climate changes may shift the distributional ranges of vector-borne diseases.

There are, however, significant uncertainties in climate change projections, particularly with regard to changes in weather patterns over time and consequences on smaller-scale biogeographic regions. Moreover, complex transmission pathways interact with climatic and environmental factors and are thus often insufficiently understood (McMichael et al. 2006; Patz et al. 2005). It is unlikely that the effect of climate change on a specific pathogen will be idiosyncratic; rather, a multitude of effects are likely to occur because pathogen dispersion, transport, fate, and environmental exposure pathways can all be altered by local climate and weather conditions (Boxall et al. 2009). Although infectious disease outbreaks have been linked to individual weather events, there have been few attempts to detect and attribute temporal trends in infectious diseases to climate change (Semenza et al. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Mapping Climate Change Vulnerabilities to Infectious Diseases in Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.