Climate Change Is Increasing Risk Of Spread Of Zoonotic Diseases, Study Shows

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A recent study from the University of California-Davis School of Medicine highlights the adverse effects of climate change, stating that it not only escalates temperatures but also accelerates the transmission of lethal infectious diseases. The research underscores the urgency for heightened awareness, readiness, and intervention within the medical field to tackle emerging health risks stemming from climate change. Most importantly emphasizes the importance of healthcare professionals promptly adapting to the changing scenario where climate change intertwines with infectious diseases.

Climate change increasing risk of spread of infectious diseases

Study lead author George Thompson emphasizes the importance for clinicians to adapt to changes in the infectious disease landscape. He highlights the significance of understanding the link between climate change and disease behavior in guiding diagnoses, treatment, and prevention strategies for infectious diseases.

The article featured in JAMA highlights infectious diseases transmitted from animals or person to person, including vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Zika, spread by fleas, mosquitoes, and ticks.

Climate change is accelerating the spread of diseases by altering weather patterns, extending the habitats and activity periods of disease vectors. This has resulted in diseases like babesiosis and Lyme disease expanding beyond their usual seasonal and regional confines to new areas and times of the year.

Spread of zoonotic diseases on the rise

Tick-borne diseases are being observed in January and February, indicating an earlier start to the tick season with more active ticks over a wider area. This leads to an increase in tick bites and associated diseases. Additionally, malaria is spreading northward due to climate-induced changes affecting mosquito populations, with cases observed in regions like Texas, Maryland, and Florida highlighting the public health threat posed by climate change.

The paper addresses the risks of zoonotic diseases, which are infections passed from animals to humans. It notes that shifts in animal migration and habitats, possibly due to climate change, are heightening human vulnerability to novel and hazardous pathogens. It also underscores the emergence of new fungal infections and the wider spread of diseases like Valley fever as indicators of the evolving disease scenario.

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