Diseases Of The Future That Will Be The Result Of Climate Change

The novel coronavirus has been one of the deadliest virus outbreak to date.

Scientists have a sense of fear that this pandemic could be just the start of a new fight against infectious disease. One of the apex health organizations, the World Health Organization, cautions that climate change could worsen the transmission of infectious disease over the next decades. 

Climate change and other natural and human-made health stressors, impact human health and disease in several ways. Some ongoing health risks will aggravate, and some new health risks will arise. Not everyone is equally vulnerable. Key factors include age, location, and economic resources.

According to a report of Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), some of the diseases that are highly likely to spread and aggravate include cholera, bird flu, ebola, plague, tuberculosis, etc. To prevent such conditions from taking a severe form, like the flu pandemic (1918) or the novel coronavirus pandemic (2020), WCS recommends administering wildlife to identify the signs of pathogens before a critical outbreak occurs.

Some diseases of the future that will be the result of climate change are listed below:

1. Cholera

Vibrio cholerae is the bacterium that causes cholera. It is known to flourish in warmer waters and leads to diarrhea so severe that it can kill in just a week. Without enhanced sanitation, increasing global temperatures and melting ice cover of poles will aid its deadly outbreak.

2. Bird flu

Caused by H5N1, these infections are gradually becoming the rule instead of an exception in farmed poultry around the world, and even wild birds are exhibiting the signs of infection more frequently. It has forced the slaughtering of millions of chickens, ducks, and geese worldwide – and has killed over 240 people – which contributes to at least $100 billion in economic losses.

3. Ebola

It is deadly to humans and other mammals and has no cure. Moreover, it is uncertain where the disease, which causes vomiting, fever, and internal or external bleeding, arrives from – though researchers suspect bats. What is apparent is that outbreaks tend to follow exceptional downpours or droughts in central Africa- a possible outcome of climate change.

4. Plague

Yersinia pestis bacteria that are generally found in small mammals and their fleas cause this infectious disease. The disease is spread between animals through their fleas and, since it is a zoonotic bacteria, animals can also transmit this disease to humans. Temperature and rainfall variations will influence rodent populations universally as well as the infected fleas they transport.

5. Tuberculosis (TB)

Both the human and cattle variations of tuberculosis are likely to rise, specifically the latter as droughts carry livestock and wildlife into immediate vicinity at watering holes.

Also Read: Can Climate Change Affect Psychological Health?

6. Babesiosis

This malaria-like ailment carried by ticks is endemic in the tropical zones but has emerged everywhere from Italy to Long Island, N.Y. It is uncommon in humans currently and scarcely ever deadly (often treatable with antibiotics) but could become more difficult as the globe warms, offering more congenial environments. 

7. Lyme disease

Also called Lyme borreliosis, is a tick-borne disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This disease will transmit as climate changes widen the scope of the ticks that carry it.

8. Parasites

Many transmit very easily between humans, livestock, and wildlife. Greater average temperatures and high rainfall will aid many parasites, including the tiny worms called Baylisascaris procyonis that are transmitted by raccoons, to prosper in the wild before seeking a host.

9. Rift valley fever

It is a viral disease most frequently seen in domestic animals in sub-Saharan Africa, including cattle, buffalo, goats, camels, and sheep. People may get RVF through contact with body fluids, tissues, or blood of infected animals or bites from infected mosquitoes.

10. Red tides

Red tide is a phenomenon caused due to algal blooms, during which algae become such large numbers that they decolorize coastal waters. The algal bloom could also exhaust oxygen in the waters and/or liberate toxins that can lead to a disease in humans and other animals.

11. Sleeping sickness

Global warming will transform the circulation of the tsetse fly that transmits the disease, now infecting over 300,000 people yearly in Africa. Victims become sluggish and could experience severe swelling of the lymph nodes.

12. Yellow fever

Mosquitoes transmit this disease between wildlife and humans. It causes fever and jaundice-like symptoms and will most probably spread into new regions as the climate changes.

To combat outbreaks, tracking efforts for yellow fever in South American monkeys have already helped aim health interventions and vaccinations. Moreover, GAINS (Global Avian Influenza Network for Surveillance) has also helped prevent the risk of a significant outbreak in humans. 

Conclusion

Climate change denotes long-term shifts in weather patterns and conditions of extreme weather events. It could intensify existing health problems or cause people to develop a new one. The diseases and conditions mentioned in this article are some of the future infectious diseases that can occur as a result of climatic change. Please refer to various online resources for prevention and keep yourself and your loved ones safe and healthy always. 

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Tags: Impact Of Climate Change On Human Infectious Diseases, Diseases Caused By Climate Change, Cholera And Climate Change

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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.