Climate change could aggravate over half of known human pathogens, scientists say – ABC News

by | Aug 8, 2022 | Climate Change

Scientists have made a distressing discovery on how global warming will affect known infectious diseases.Climate hazards are expected to aggravate 58% of all known human pathogens, according to a study published Monday in Nature Climate Change. That’s over half of infectious diseases discovered since the end of the Roman Empire, Camilo Mora, a data analyst and associate professor in the Department of Geography and Environment at the University of Hawaii Manoa, told ABC News.While the impact that climate change can have on human vulnerability to a range of diseases has been well accepted, the full threat climate change poses to humanity in the context of disease was unknown, according to the researchers. Past studies have primarily focused on specific groups of pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, the response to certain hazards, such as heatwaves or increased flooding, or transmission types, such as food or water-borne.Mora’s team systematically screened literature that revealed 3,213 empirical cases linking 286 unique, human pathogenic diseases to 10 climate hazards, such as warming, floods or drought. Of these, 277 pathogens were found to be aggravated by at least one climate hazard, with only nine pathogens “exclusively diminished” by climatic hazards, according to the study. A car washed into the Squabble Creek by the floods in Buckhorn, Ky., Aug. 5, 2022.Saul Young/News Sentinel via USA Today NetworkA whopping 58% of an authoritative list of infectious diseases documented to have impacted humanity have already been shown to be aggravated by climatic hazards — a finding the researchers found “shocking,” Mora said.Examples of hazards include those that bring humans closer to pathogens, such as storms an …

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