Climate change and infectious disease

The climate crisis is not only destroying biomes and ecosystems and disrupting the planet's climate, but it is als affecting human health.

by Lorenzo Ciotti
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Climate change and infectious disease

"Climate change presents an imminent threat to almost all biological systems across the globe. In recent years there have been a series of studies showing how changes in climate can impact infectious disease transmission. Many of these publications focus on simulations based on in silico data, shadowing empirical research based on field and laboratory data.A synthesis work of empirical climate change and infectious disease research is still lacking.

We conducted a systemic review of research from 2015 to 2020 period on climate change and infectious diseases to identify major trends and current gaps of research. Literature was sourced from Web of Science and PubMed literary repositories using a key word search, and was reviewed using a delineated inclusion criteria by a team of reviewers.

Our review revealed that both taxonomic and geographic biases are present in climate and infectious disease research, specifically with regard to types of disease transmission and localities studied. Empirical investigations on vector-borne diseases associated with mosquitoes comprised the majority of research on the climate change and infectious disease literature.

Furthermore, demographic trends in the institutions and individuals published revealed research bias towards research conducted across temperate, high-income countries. We also identified key trends in funding sources for most resent literature and a discrepancy in the gender identities of publishing authors which may reflect current systemic inequities in the scientific field.

Future research lines on climate change and infectious diseases should considered diseases of direct transmission (non-vector-borne) and more research effort in the tropics. Inclusion of local research in low- and middle-income countries was generally neglected. Research on climate change and infectious disease has failed to be socially inclusive, geographically balanced, and broad in terms of the disease systems studied, limiting our capacities to better understand the actual effects of climate change on health." This is what was reported by the study Climate change and infectious disease: a review of evidence and research trends, published on the Infectious diseases of poverty.

The study has made an interesting retrospective on this topic: the climate crisis is not only destroying biomes and ecosystems and disrupting the planet's climate, but it is also affecting human health.