THE CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS IMPACT ON INFECTIOUS DISEASES

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news?

  • According to the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, the climate change increases the global risk of infectious diseases due to the close relationship between climate and disease.
  • Climate change not only impacts infectious diseases but also exacerbates injuries, deaths from extreme weather events, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and mental health issues.

More about the Report

  • Climate change disrupts the periodicity of disease outbreaks, affecting mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and altering disease transmission cycles.
  • Habitat loss forces disease-carrying animals into human territory, increasing the risk of human-animal interaction and pathogen transfer to humans.
  • Over half of all-known infectious diseases threatening humans worsen with changing climate patterns, leading to new transmission routes and environmental sources of disease.
  • Climate change transforms ecosystems, introducing invasive species and extending the range of existing life forms, making it challenging for epidemiologists to predict outbreaks.
  • Recently, India has experienced health crises such as dengue epidemics and Nipah outbreaks due to climate-related shifts.
  • Surveillance and reporting systems need to be revised to address the changing disease scenario and enable real-time tracking of emerging outbreaks.
  • The One Health approach, which integrates monitoring human, animal, plant, and environmental health, is crucial in preventing outbreaks, especially zoonotic diseases.
  • India should implement One Health and infectious disease control programs, fostering collaboration between different agencies and departments.
  • Protecting ecosystems, promoting collaboration, and embracing the One Health paradigm are essential strategies to address the growing threat of infectious diseases in a changing climate.
About One Health Approach
  • ‘One Health’ is an integrated and unifying approach that aims to balance and optimize the health of three interconnected components: people, animals, and the environment.
  • It is particularly important in addressing and combating global health threats. This approach recognizes the interdependence of human health, animal health, and the health of ecosystems.
  • ‘One Health’ focuses on various aspects, including preventing, predicting, detecting, and responding to health threats that can affect both humans and animals.
  • It is particularly relevant for controlling zoonotic diseases, which are diseases that can spread between animals and humans. Examples of zoonotic diseases include influenza (flu), rabies, and Rift Valley fever.
  • The approach extends to areas such as food and water safety, emphasizing the need to ensure that the production and consumption of food and water do not pose health risks to humans or animals.
  • Nutrition is another important aspect of ‘One Health,’ as it recognizes the link between the health of humans and the nutritional needs of animals and the environment.
  • Addressing environmental pollution is an integral part of ‘One Health,’ as pollution can have adverse effects on the health of all three components: people, animals, and the environment.
  • In May 2021, the ‘One Health’ High-Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) was established to provide advice and recommendations to organizations such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) on ‘One Health’ issues.
  • OHHLEP focuses on recommendations for research related to emerging disease threats and the development of a long-term global plan of action. This plan aims to prevent and mitigate outbreaks of diseases that have the potential to affect both human and animal populations, such as H5N1 avian influenza, Zika, and Ebola.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

·       The IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change.

·       It was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and United Nations Environment Program to provide policymakers with regular assessments of the scientific basis of climate change, its impacts and future risks, and options for adaptation and mitigation.

·       The IPCC periodically releases comprehensive assessment reports, often referred to as IPCC Assessment Reports, which are widely used by governments, policymakers, and researchers to inform climate-related decisions and actions.

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