10 Diseases To Watch Out During Climate Change

Most of the human infections are spread at the time of spring and summer by ticks in the nymph stage and the mosquitoes.

Bird Flu

It is a viral infection that infects birds, humans, and other animals. It is also known as avian influenza, and the virus associated with it is H5N1.

This is often caused due to contact with sick birds through bird feces, nasal secretions, mouth, or eyes.

Bird flu can also be spread from person to person because the human flu viruses bound easily with the receptors found in the nose and throat cells.


Different types of bird flu can cause different symptoms, but common ones are as follows:-

  • cough
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty in respiration
  • fever
  • headache
  • muscle aches
  • malaise
  • runny nose
  • sore throat

The doctor may refer you to go through certain tests to identify the avian influenza virus.

  • auscultation (a test that detects abnormal breath sounds)
  • white blood cell differential
  • nasopharyngeal culture
  • chest X-ray
  • influenza A/H5 (Asian lineage) virus real-time RT-PCR primer and probe set


It is a malaria-like parasitic disease that causes infection in red blood cells on a tick bite. Babesia is a tiny parasite responsible for infecting red blood cells.

Such parasites grow and reproduce inside red blood cells, which rupture red blood cells and cause intense pain.

Apart from a tick bite, the infection can also pass by contaminated blood transfusion, organ transplantation or transmission through the fetus of an infected pregnant woman.


The most common symptoms start with a high fever, chills, muscle or joint aches, and fatigue. Some uncommon types of symptoms are:

  • severe headache
  • abdominal pain
  • nausea
  • skin bruising
  • yellowing of your skin and eyes
  • mood changes

Diagnosis is difficult in such diseases; the blood sample can be used for examination under a microscope.

Your doctor may also recommend you for further tests such as:

  • Indirect Fluorescent Antibody Test (IFA)
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)


It is an infection of the small intestine by some bacteria called Vibrio cholera. Such bacteria release a toxin in the intestine that produces Diarrhea and can also lead to Dehydration.

Cholera is transmitted through water or food contaminated with Vibrio cholera.


Symptoms of cholera are sometimes mild and can be seen a few hours or days after infection.

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Loss of skin elasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Thirst
  • Muscle cramps

As Cholera affects intestines, the only way to confirm the diagnosis is a test of a stool sample. Rapid cholera dipstick is also one of the tests to check cholera bacteria in humans.


It is an infectious disease that occurred through a bacterium, Yersinia pestis. It is also known as Black Death because during the middle ages, it killed nearly 200 million people and created fear and terror.

Plagues spread very easily and therefore, can be fatal if not treated. Plague can be transmitted by a rat to a human through the bite or insect such as a flea.

There are three types of plagues: Septicemic Plague, Pneumonic Plague, and Bubonic Plague.


  • Deeply darken skin(Black death)
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Body aches
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Seizures

If a doctor suspects Yersinia pestis in your body, he/she may have to diagnose a sample taken from your:

  • Buboes: A fluid sample taken from the lymph node is examined, this is called Aspiration.
  • Blood: The infection caused by the bacteria infects the blood which can also be examined if needed.
  • Lungs: Pneumonic plague is found in the lungs and is examined by the sample of mucous taken from the airway.

Also Read: All You Need To Know About Infectious Diseases

Lyme disease

It is caused by bacteria known as Borrelia burgdorferi that is transmitted through a bite from an infected tick. The changes you might observe in this disease depend on the kind of tick, time and place of the tick bite.

According to the CDC, the victim gets infected once the tick remains attached to the body for at least 36-48 hours. Therefore, in order to be safe you should manage to remove the tick within 48 hours from the time of tick bite.


The symptoms of this disease depend on the tick bite and are quite similar to the flu symptoms.

  • fever
  • severe headache
  • joint pain
  • irregular heartbeat
  • inflammation of the brain
  • numbness in the hands or feet

Diagnosis for Lyme disease depends on when you got infected. Tests aren’t recommended for patients who don’t have Lyme disease symptoms.

Depending upon the duration of tick bite Lyme disease symptoms is categorized into three stages:

(i) Early localized Lyme: Symptoms related to flu are seen in this stage such as fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, sore throat, and rashes are common.

(ii) Early disseminated Lyme: Other flu symptoms such as body pain, numbness in arms, vision changes, heart palpitations, and chest pain comes under early disseminated Lyme.

(iii) Late disseminated Lyme: Arthritis, severe fatigue, vertigo, mental confusion are the final stage symptoms. Such symptoms may take weeks or months to occur after the time of the tick bite.

Yellow Fever

It is a viral hemorrhagic disease transmitted through mosquitoes bite. It is commonly found in Africa, Central, and South America. Jaundice causes the sclera and turns pale yellow in color.


Its symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Jaundice
  • Muscle pain
  • Vomiting and fatigue
  • loss of appetite

There is no specific antiviral drug for yellow fever. The doctor refers to a blood test after determining the symptoms as other diseases(dengue, malaria, typhoid) have similar symptoms as well. The blood test gives an idea about the virus or the antibodies when the virus enters the body.


It is a mosquito-borne disease that is harmful to humans as well as animals. It happens when female Anopheles mosquito infects the body with Plasmodium.


Malaria symptoms are categorized into two categories:

Uncomplicated Malaria: In uncomplicated Malaria, the patient shows symptoms that typically last 6 to 10 hours and recur every second day. The symptoms are similar to flu; therefore, sometimes, it remains undiagnosed.

  • cold with shivering
  • fever, headaches, and vomiting
  • A cycle of sweats and return to normal temperature, with tiredness
  • Sometimes seizures occur in younger people with the disease

Severe Malaria: This type of malaria is considered a severe one as the patient shows no symptoms of malaria and can lead to vital organ dysfunction.

  • fever and chills
  • impaired consciousness
  • prostration, or adopting a prone position
  • multiple convulsions
  • deep breathing and respiratory distress
  • signs of anemia
  • clinical jaundice

Anyone having symptoms of malaria should seek immediate medical treatment. The WHO strongly advises microscopic laboratory testing or by a rapid diagnostic test (RDT). Only medical treatment is the optimum solution for such disease. The doctor may recommend blood tests to identify infection.


It is a pandemic-prone viral disease caused by mosquitoes bite resulting in flu-like illness and sometimes leads to severe dengue. After getting affected humans become the secondary source of carrier and multiplier of the infection. This infection remains in the blood for 2-7 days.


An infected person shows flu-like symptoms. This disease is also known as ‘break-bone’ fever as it affects all infants, adults, and children alike.

  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Nausea, Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Rash
  • Depletion in platelets

The following laboratory tests can help in diagnosing dengue:

  • Total White Blood Cell count
  • Thrombocytopenia
  • Hematocrit (micro-hematocrit)


It is a mosquito-borne disease in which mosquitos infects humans through their bite. There is no vaccine to prevent or cure such an infected disease.


Symptoms start to occur 6-7 days after they get bitten, such as:

  • Fever and joint pain
  • Headache
  • muscle pain
  • joint swelling or rash.

The symptoms and diagnosis are almost similar to dengue and zika and therefore involves identical diagnosis such as

  • total white blood cells,
  • total platelet count

Rift Valley Fever

It is a viral zoonosis that primarily affects animals but also infects humans. The majority of human infections are a consequence of slaughtering, butchering, animal births, conducting veterinary procedures, or from fetuses.

It can also be transmitted between humans through blood transmission such as wounds from an infected knife, contact with broken skin. The incubation period varies from 2-6 days.


It shows mild symptoms of:-

  • Fever
  • Muscle pain
  • Headaches
  • Blurred and decreased vision
  • Inflammation of the brain

It can only be diagnosed in laboratories using the following tests:

  • reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay
  • IgG and IgM antibody enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA)
  • virus isolation by cell culture.


Tags: Climate change and infectious diseases, How does climate change affect the spread of disease, Climate change and malaria

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Janet Fudge

Janet Fudge writes on general health topics for CheapMedicineShop.com. She holds a post-graduate diploma in Public Health with a major in epidemiology. During the outbreak of COVID-19, Janet actively volunteered in vaccination drives throughout the state of Iowa. She lives in Iowa with her husband and two children.